Dossier on Every Man, Woman and Child in Utah :.It sounds like a sci-fi thriller: a super computer program that gathers dossiers on every single man, woman and child � everything from birth and marriage and divorce history to hunting licenses and car license plates. Even every address you have lived at down to the color of your hair.
It sounds surreal, but former Gov. Mike Leavitt signed Utah's 2.4 million residents up for a pilot program � ironically called MATRIX � that does just that. And he never bothered to reveal details of the program to Utah citizens or to state lawmakers who, upon learning of the program on Capitol Hill this week, are now worried the state could be involved in a program that jeopardizes basic civil liberties.
"I am concerned our governor signed us up without ever talking to us, the people of the state" said Senate Minority Whip Ron Allen, D-Stansbury Park, who has asked legislative analysts to research whether the Legislature ever authorized state participation in the program. "If what I have heard is true, then I am concerned about our liberty and our privacy. It is a national identification card without ever carrying it."
Allen's concerns are shared by his GOP counterparts, who worry about government intrusion into people's private lives and the collection of comprehensive data on people who have committed no crime.
Job Moved to India? Move With It! :.
HAHA! Can you imagine, chasing a shit job to the other side of the planet? Apparently, however, one can live a pretty decent life on US$11,000 per year in India. Note: That's what a senior software engineer makes over there: Kris Lakshmikanth, founder CEO and MD, The Head Hunters India Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore-based executive recruitment firm: �We are currently witnessing at least one to two walk-ins per week. Besides, we also get numerous (over 10 to 20) calls/emails for jobs in India from people in the US and Europe. For obvious reasons, we receive more enquiries from English speaking people. This means more of people from the UK and the US at this point of time.�
According to Mr Lakshmikanth, foreigners of the age group 25-55 years with educational qualification from high school to doctorate are seeking Indian jobs in BPO, pharma, hotels, software, hardware, retail, petroleum, biotech, telecom, auto, etc. �Till 2001, we had hardly any foreigners coming to us for jobs in India. The first time I witnessed �foreigners� willing to work in India was in September 2002. At that time, we were headhunting for senior people for one of our telecom clients,� he says. During the last quarter of 2003, we witnessed white Americans/Europeans walking into our office in Bangalore for jobs, he adds.
Kerry Leads in Lobby Money :.Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who has made a fight against corporate special interests a centerpiece of his front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years, federal records show.
Powell Says U.S. Force Won't Encircle Russia, U.S. Force Encircles Russia :.Secretary of State Colin Powell sought Tuesday to assure Russians that despite plans to redeploy some American troops to former Soviet bloc nations in Eastern Europe, the United States had no intention to encircle or threaten their country.
Security, Microsoft Style: Don't Click Hyperlinks! :.
HAHAHAHAHA! The End:The most effective step that you can take to help protect yourself from malicious hyperlinks is not to click them. Rather, type the URL of your intended destination in the address bar yourself. By manually typing the URL in the address bar, you can verify the information that Internet Explorer uses to access the destination Web site. To do so, type the URL in the Address bar, and then press ENTER.
Military Personnel Wounded in Iraq & Afghanistan: A Photo Gallery :.
The senseless feeding of men into a meat grinder:
Research Credit: DH
Bum Wino Review: Tula Vista 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon
If anyone is looking for an excellent value in wine, the Tula Vista 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon represents the Holy Grail, in my opinion. Available at Trader Joes for $3.99, this complex cab finishes pretty smooth, with hints of currant and oak. Yes, I know, you think that this is one step up from two buck chuck
. Friend, think again. I've been searching for a great drinking cab/merlot (under $5) for over a decade. After trying dozens bottles of nearly undrinkable swill, I'm happy to announce that the search is finally over. My liver's loss is your gain!
First of all, the Tula Vista cab is consistent. Unlike the chuck, the Tula Vista doesn't vary widely in taste. I have had bottles of two buck chuck that were drinkable, but it's never something one can count on. Tula Vista is always good. I wouldn't say that it's better than a Kenwood, De Loach or Copolla, but you could easily pass Tula Vista off as a $15 bottle and not many people would question it.
True story: I used to date a very high maintenance girl. She wouldn't drink any wine that cost less than about $12. Minimum. It was not uncommon for her daily drinkers to be in the $15 to $20 range. She viewed my wine selections as barbaric.
Well, guess which wine Miss CPA went out and bought on her own after first trying a bottle with me. That's right. Tula Vista.
Get it by the bottle. Get it by the case. Get it any way you can.
Here's a "real" review
of Tula Vista. Note: Papio
is crap. I wouldn't use that stuff to get the Bush twins
drunk. And if anyone thinks I'm nuts for sniffing out the deals for under $5, take a look at this:Simply put, it's smart to be a wine sleuth. Searching out the producers of $5 and under brands is a worthy hobby because odds are they're made by established winemakers who have access to good juice.
See! I knew there was a method to my madness.
Subgovernment: Concentrating Benefits, Diffusing Costs
The other day, I was perusing a book called, Interest Group Politics in America, by Ronald J. Hrebenar
. I have to admit, I haven't taken too close of a look at how the influence peddling racket worked between interest groups and the U.S. government. I just assumed it was pretty slimy and left it at that. What I wasn't aware of (because I never looked) is how much information exists on just how slimy it is! This stuff isn't discussed much in "normal" circles and there's a good reason for that. It's not as bad as you think it is. It's worse.
In Hrebenar's book, I liked the discussion of concentrated benefits and diffused costs
. This concept is really one of the family jewels. It goes a long way in helping the analyst to understand events. Example: give Halliburton billions of dollars and fleece every tax paying American to do it. Concentrated benefits, diffused costs. That's a pretty good one.
Somehow, in the process of getting a degree in International Relations, I missed out on an interesting bit of jargon: subgovernment
. We all know what's going on, but sometimes we just don't know the clinical term for it. The subgovernment model relates to a political nexus in which private interest groups influence (some would say, dictate) government policy and programs. Take a look at the following passage from The Democratic Facade by Daniel Hellinger and Dennis R. Judd Brooks
about the various subgovernments in U.S. policy circles:The first crisis of American democracy, the privatization of electoral politics, has led to the second crisis: the privatization of the national government's policy making processes... The Defense Department and military contractors constitute perhaps the most well-known and thoroughly insulated policy subgovernment. But these subgovernments are numerous: The National Forest Service and the lumber industry are engaged in a constant, complicated dance, together with key senators and representatives who receive appropriate campaign contributions. The oil industry does its dance in a subgovernment composed of oil-state politicians, their committees, and the Energy, Interior, and Commerce Departments. And so forth. What passes for political "debate" in the United States skirts around the margins of these systems, does not impact them significantly, and therefore does not affect policy to any substantial degree. Such a tight relationship between politicians and business in the making of policy has probably not existed in the United States since the time of the "robber barons" in the late nineteenth century. Most policies that matter to Americans are now for the most part put up for sale. Like campaigns and elections, the everyday policy processes of American government have been privatized.
If anyone was interested in actually drilling down to the names of individuals responsible for everything going to hell, it wouldn't be any great trick to do it. The most incredible thing about this is the scale of it. The blatant openness of it. When you think you're reading about high criminality, think again. The grifters have legalized their trade and turned the U.S. is the biggest, richest and most corrupt banana republic of them all. What we're really talking about here is nothing less than who dies, and who makes a killing. If you doubt it, watch this video
about the Carlyle Group and get back to me.
I wonder if anyone has ever done a study that computes the average return on a dollar spent buying off a politician. From some of the numbers I've seen, these guys are pretty cheap. Expensive prostitutes probably cost more than politicians. But this might just be the ABC scale. Ten grand here, fifty grand there. Chump change. But then there's the XYZ scale. After the criminal politician becomes a private citizen again, he's offered a position in one of the corporations who bought him off in the first place. Now he uses his government contacts to get even more filthy deals done. In Cheney's case, he rolled the cycle over again, and went back into government!
Can you even imagine the hookers, the bags of cash, the compromising video tape, the ratfucking and swindling that goes on!? If reading about what is perfectly legal makes you feel like you need to bathe.... what REALLY goes on!? Two senior Pentagon officials, Robert Lee Neal Jr. and Francis Delano Jones Jr.
, were recently sentenced to prison for taking cash bribes and hookers in return for awarding government contracts. I'd imagine that such antics are part of standard operating procedure; these guys just happened to get caught and appearances had to be maintained.
I'm happy to report that a young student has taken an interest in the types of issues discussed on Cryptogon. After a few moments of guidance, she took off on her own and found a Guardian story
from 2001. I had only a vague notion of how tightly the tentacles of agricultural biotechnology were wrapped around the Bush administration. Check this out:When Bill Clinton was president, it was an open secret that his government favoured agricultural biotechnology and actively promoted it as a potential US global money-spinner.
But the strength of the genetically modified food lobby in George Bush's new cabinet, and its links with the GM global leader, Monsanto, are greater than anything that came before, it has emerged.
The secretaries of defence, health and agriculture, the attorney general and the chairman of the House agriculture committee all have links with the firm or the wider industry.
The most active GM advocate is expected to be John Ashcroft, the proposed attorney general, who received $10,000 (?6,800) from Monsanto in the recent elections, the most the company gave to any congressional candidate. Mr Ashcroft led calls to the Clinton administration to promote GM crops in developing countries and to persuade Europe to accept them.
These types of conflicts of interest are present everywhere in the government. How can this be described as anything other than a massive criminal enterprise? In many cases, our tax money is being stolen from us for re-distribution to private, wealthy elites! What in the hell are we getting in return for this!? Anything!? Oh, a police state. Lovely. What the media refers to as capitalism and free-enterprise is nothing more than a money laundering scam of unimaginable proportions.
Research Credit: Mary
SCO Places Bounty On Worm Author's Head :.
Linux users will increasingly be viewed as terrorists. Just wait. We haven't seen anything yet:The SCO Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOX), the owner of the UNIX(R) operating system and a leading provider of UNIX-based solutions, today confirmed that it is experiencing a distributed Denial-of-Service (DDOS) attack. SCO announced that it is offering a reward of up to a total of $250,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for creating the Mydoom virus.
Off Topic: New Canon DSLR Specs Leaked
I don't know if any of you guys follow digital photography, but the specs for Canon's EOS-1D mark II appear to have been momentarily leaked on Canon's French site. Canon has pulled everything, but here are the vital stats:
8.5 Mega pixels
1.3x focal length multiplier factor
Up to 8.5 fps (40 frame buffer)
Those interested in this info should lurk here
. Any news on this will break there first.UPDATE: Rumors Correct, Behold the EOS-1D mark II
Skull & Bones: The Secret Society That Unites John Kerry and President Bush :.
Excellent coverage from Democracy Now
. You may listen, watch video or read.
John Kerry: Blood Brother of George W. Bush in the Skull and Bones Secret Society :.
Mark, over at oilempire.us
, is building a John Kerry page.
[email protected] Worm
If anyone recently sent me an email with an attatchment, you'll need to resend it. I received the [email protected]
payload about 300 times over the night. So, I just shit canned all messages with attatchments this morning. Thanks.
If you're infected with this thing, Symantec has posted a [email protected] removal tool
Warrior Cops: The Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism in American Police Departments :.
This report is from 1999. The events of September 11, 2001 provided the social catalyst needed to make the presence of these paramilitary forces on the street tolerable (indeed, welcomed) by average people:Over the past 20 years Congress has encouraged the U.S. military to supply intelligence, equipment, and training to civilian police. That encouragement has spawned a culture of paramilitarism in American law enforcement.
The 1980s and 1990s have seen marked changes in the number of state and local paramilitary units, in their mission and deployment, and in their tactical armament. According to a recent academic survey, nearly 90 percent of the police departments surveyed in cities with populations over 50,000 had paramilitary units, as did 70 percent of the departments surveyed in communities with populations under 50,000. The Pentagon has been equipping those units with M-16s, armored personnel carriers, and grenade launchers. The police paramilitary units also conduct training exercises with active duty Army Rangers and Navy SEALs.
State and local police departments are increasingly accepting the military as a model for their behavior and outlook. The sharing of training and technology is producing a shared mindset. The problem is that the mindset of the soldier is simply not appropriate for the civilian police officer. Police officers confront not an "enemy" but individuals who are protected by the Bill of Rights. Confusing the police function with the military function can lead to dangerous and unintended consequences�such as unnecessary shootings and killings.
Parrot Smarter than Most WalMart Shoppers :.The finding of a parrot with an almost unparalleled power to communicate with people has brought scientists up short.
The bird, a captive African grey called N'kisi, has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.
He invents his own words and phrases if he is confronted with novel ideas with which his existing repertoire cannot cope - just as a human child would do.
N'kisi's remarkable abilities, which are said to include telepathy, feature in the latest BBC Wildlife Magazine.
N'kisi is believed to be one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world.
About 100 words are needed for half of all reading in English, so if N'kisi could read he would be able to cope with a wide range of material.
George Carlin Unfurls :.
I like that he makes reference to the fact that this thing came down with the industrial revolution. Most people don't understand that. They just can't grasp that simple reality:Q: You're known as a very liberal comic. Are you trying to change people's political views when you go out there? Do you have an underlying agenda?
A: No. First of all, I'm not liberal. I'm just about (being) anti-United States. I don't like the way this country operates. I think we've ruined this place. And I think it's largely because of businessmen. And businessmen are not liberals. So if that makes me a liberal, then that's just an association. It's not a choice. ...
I do not care about changing anybody. Nobody. I go out there to show the rest of the Americans how badly they're doing. This country has been, for about 180 years now, badly mishandled. And it's been in the wrong hands. It's been in the hands of the business interests.
And a lot of the beauty of this country has been shattered by them. The physical beauty and the kind of institutional beauty that was originally built into this place - this experiment, this magnificent experiment in democracy is just being shredded to pieces by these right-wing Christians, the Ashcroft branch of Republicanism. (They're) just shredding the rest of the Bill of Rights which hadn't been shredded already. (But) they'd been doing a pretty good job on it up until then, anyway.
Q: Do you feel like this country has progressed any way, shape or form in the past 20 years?
A: Everybody's got more jet skis and Dustbusters now and sneakers with lights in them. They've got more cheese on their thing that they buy. They get double helpings. See, Americans measure all their progress in the wrong way. They measure by quantity and by gizmos and toys. And not by quality and by things that are important.
The most interesting thing to me is that the things that people would seem to have the most right to have - that is to say health, food, shelter and a job are the things that are last on the list. To me, that is fundamental. Those are the things humans most need to function, and we have placed them at the bottom of the list. So I think that says a lot about national character and priorities.
Powell Takes Hypocrisy to New Levels with Russia Comments :.
Substitute the words "Russia" with "United States" and "Chechnya" with "Iraq" and what you'll notice, at least if you've been reading Cryptogon for any length of time, is that the U.S. has more in common with totalitarian regimes than most people are willing to admit.
As brutal as the Russian regime is, it didn't invade a distant country, that posed no threat, for the express purpose of stealing its natural resources. The U.S. did that. (Yeah, yeah, I know more about Chechnya than you'll ever want to know, but which slaughter is more understandable, in theory? Russia in Chechnya or the U.S. in Iraq?) So, what is the purpose of this folly out of Powell!? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! I just spread two bags of chicken manure on a new compost heap in the backyard and it didn't reek as bad as this! Jesus. I'm loosing the ability to maintain appearances:Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Monday he was worried about Russia's democracy, using unusually blunt comments that underscored widespread concerns the Kremlin is turning increasingly autocratic.
In a front-page article published in major Russian daily Izvestia, he said Russian politics were not sufficiently subject to the rule of law and made clear there were limits to the U.S.-Russian relationship without shared values.
While couched in diplomatic terms, Powell's comments were unusually direct from a U.S. administration that has worked closely with Moscow in the U.S.-led war on terrorism and has cooperated on regional issues from North Korea to Iran.
He also challenged Russia's policy in Chechnya and -- without citing any countries by name -- its recently assertive dealings toward nations like Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
"Certain developments in Russian politics and foreign policy in recent months have given us pause," he wrote at the start of a two-day visit to Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.
Couple Lose Their Home Over $120 Debt :.
CC&Rs? That stands for Crooks, Criminals and Retards, right? Here is a brilliant idea: Don't buy a house with CC&Rs!A retired couple's dispute with their homeowners association has spiraled out of control in this Calaveras County community -- and now they have lost their home less than a year after failing to pay $120 in annual dues.
Kay: No Evidence Iraq Stockpiled WMDs :.
Can anyone provide me with a convincing explanation as to why no WMDs have been "found" in Iraq? CIA contractors used to fly planeloads of weapons into Baghdad International Airport and pay for refueling with cash stuffed in bowling ball bags! You expect me to believe that in the event that Hussein lacked WMDs, they wouldn't place some over there!? I mean, is there a single person out there who believes CIA couldn't/wouldn't place a couple of tons of chemical/biological weapons in a sand pit in the middle of Iraq? Something very weird is up. Are they waiting until the election gets closer, or has Bush been slated to loose the next election? Or is something else happening? What do you guys think? Two days after resigning as the Bush administration's top weapons inspector in Iraq, David Kay said Sunday that his group found no evidence Iraq had stockpiled unconventional weapons before the U.S.-led invasion in March.
He said U.S. intelligence services owe President Bush an explanation for having concluded that Iraq had.
"My summary view, based on what I've seen, is we're very unlikely to find large stockpiles of weapons," he said on National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition." "I don't think they exist."
It was the consensus among the intelligence agencies that Iraq had such weapons that led Bush to conclude that it posed an imminent threat that justified the U.S.-led invasion, Kay said.Flashback: CIA and DOD Attempted To Plant WMD In Iraq :.In a world exclusive, Al Martin Raw.com has published a news story about a Department of Defense whistleblower who has revealed that a US covert operations team had planted "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (WMDs) in Iraq � then "lost" them when the team was killed by so-called "friendly fire."
The U.S. Is Now in the Hands of a Group of Extremists :.
Yes, Mr. Soros, and after the next election, no matter who wins, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. George Soros, the billionaire dissident... Billionaires for regime change? I love it.
The elite consensus must be shifting away from Bush for President in 2004. That's why the rainmakers appear to have already blessed another Bonesman, John Kerry, to "run" against Bush:If Bush is rejected in 2004, his policies can be written off as an aberration and America resume its rightful place in the world. But if he is re-elected, the electorate will have endorsed his policies and we will have to live with the consequences. But it isn't enough to defeat Bush at the polls. The US must examine its global role and adopt a more constructive vision. We cannot merely pursue narrow, national self-interest. Our dominant position imposes a unique responsibility.
Here it is again: the heavily quoted passage from Carroll Quigley's, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time
:The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.
Sure. John Kerry
, a member of Skull and Bones, who personally slaughtered civilians in Vietnam, will be a real reformer. He will make everything right as rain. He will... He will...
Americans might as well smoke crack on election day, 2004.More: Mike Ruppert Called This Long Ago :.I have a long history with Kerry. Back in 1986, 1987, and 1988, I was in contact with his office and his chief of staff Jonathan Winer on a number of occasions about CIA drug trafficking. They eagerly asked for any material I could send them and gave me a direct line. It was one of my most bitter lessons about how hot issues are controlled. Kerry, in charge of the potentially explosive Iran-Contra drug hearings succeeded in producing a 1,200-page record that was a treasure trove of information for researchers, but absolutely useless in unraveling a corruption that controls the US government to this day. What lies buried in those pages was enough to have turned the American political system inside out. In the end, its greatest usefulness was as a benchmark against which to compare the CIA's investigation of itself after the 1996 Dark Alliance stories and hard revelations of CIA connections to cocaine smuggling that Kerry knew all about anyway. Those of us close to the issue took the lemons Kerry had left us and made lemonade, as we forced the CIA Inspector General to reconcile his 1998 report with what we already knew was in Kerry's.
And still - as intended - nothing changed. John Kerry had successfully contained what was, up to that time, the biggest scandal in American history.
Wealthy in his own right, Kerry's fortune has been reinforced by the wealth of his wife (heir to the Heinz food fortune), estimated by the Associated Press at $550 million. This is old money and deeply rooted in establishment politics.
A key sign that Kerry might be the anointed one came for me when George W. Bush's chief counter-terrorism adviser Rand Beers resigned in a dramatic moment last June, in protest over Bush's handling of the war on terror and his headlong rush into Iraq. Beers immediately became Kerry's senior foreign policy advisor, as Kerry continued to state that he would improve on and expand the war on terror. Beers' protestations concealed what I considered to be a much more sinister objective, the placement of a key, hands-on operative to manage a smooth transition of power and a continuation of secret policy. Beers, who had served in national security roles for three Republican administrations, was the man who had replaced Lt. Col. Oliver North after North was fired in 1987 during the Iran-Contra scandal.More: 2004: Vote Skull and Bones for President
Research Credit: DG
Film Records Effects of Eating Only McDonald's for a Month :.
I wouldn't even stop to take a piss in a McDonald's:Spurlock, a tall New Yorker of usually cast-iron constitution, made himself the guinea pig in this dogged investigation into the effects of fast food on the body. He ate only at McDonald's for a month - three meals, every day - and took a camera crew along to record it. If a server offered to super-size his order, he was obliged to accept - and to ingest everything, gherkins and all.
Neither Spurlock, 33, nor the three doctors who agreed to monitor his health during the experiment were prepared for the degree of ruin it would wreak on his body. Within days, he was vomiting up his burgers and battling with headaches and depression. And his sex drive vanished.
When Spurlock had finished, his liver, overwhelmed by saturated fats, had virtually turned to pate. "The liver test was the most shocking thing," said Dr Daryl Isaacs, who joined the team to watch over him. "It became very, very abnormal."
Spurlock put on nearly 12kg over the period and his cholesterol level leapt from a respectable 165 to 230. He told the New York Post: "I got desperately ill. My face was splotchy and I had this huge gut, which I've never had in my life ... It was amazing - and really frightening."
Behold, The Great Cheynholio
for an audio clip from the press conference.
Kris Millegan on Coast to Coast AM Tonight :.Researcher Kris Millegan (ctrl.org) will discuss the history of the secret society referred to as the �Order of Skull & Bones� and how its members increasingly affect world events.
Parmalat Aide 'Commits Suicide' :.
Oh sure, this was a suicide! At least Alessandro Bassi wasn't hanging from the bridge, P2 Lodge
style, like God's banker, Roberto Calvi
, or thrown out of God's helicopter
: Oh yeah. Suicide for sure:A mid-level executive in the finance department of collapsed food giant Parmalat has committed suicide, Italian police have said.
Alessandro Bassi, an aide to the former finance director Fausto Tonna, threw himself from a highway bridge in Parma, the company's hometown.
Both Mr Tonna and Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi are now in jail, although no charges have yet been made.
Parmalat went bust after admitting 4bn euros (�2.8bn; $5bn) of false accounts.
MFS Finds $100 Million Loss Due to Late Trading :.
Institutional fraud... endemic throughout the financial sector:Massachusetts Financial Services Co. has found that investors in its mutual funds lost about $100 million because of illegal "late trading," a report said on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Wall Street Journal reported that MFS found that the trades were made through more than 10 different broker-dealers, including Security Brokerage Inc., and the clearing arms of Bank of America Corp. and Bear Stearns Cos., these people said.
Research Credit: NF
Bill Gates Receives Knighthood :.
What could I possibly say?Britain is to recognise Bill Gates' contribution to UK enterprise and the fight against poverty worldwide with the sort of honour money just can't buy - a knighthood.
Bill, who is reported to be "absolutely delighted", will sadly not be Sir Bill of Seattle but, as a US citizen, may henceforth be addressed by the honorary title of Bill Gates KBE (Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). He joins an illustrious list of fellow Americans previously mounting the British honours podium for their contribution to the advancement of humanity worldwide, including Dubya's peace-loving pa George Bush Senior.
Blood Sport :.THE Queen sparked outrage yesterday when she clubbed a pheasant to death with her walking stick.
Shocked onlookers watched as she picked up the injured bird which had been shot by a member of a shooting party.
Then she finished it off by raising her walking stick - which she has used since a knee operation last month - and hitting it repeatedly on the head.
The bird took several minutes to die and the Queen was seen laughing and joking with friends after the incident at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
The 77-year-old monarch does not shoot herself but is a keen follower of the blood sport.Related: Cheney's Shotgun RampageRelated: More on Cheney's Shotgun Rampage
Saddam Hussein: Thanks for the Memories :.
I don't post too many Flash movies, but this one is really good. Recommended for broadband users only.Related: Drying Meat and Dates
Research Credit: BB
Bush Administration Plan to Give Western Arctic to Oil Industry :.The Bureau of Land Management's plan announced today to open the 9-million acre Northwest Planning Area of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) to oil development will produce only a modest amount of oil and ruin an area with unique cultural and wilderness values, according to NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council).
"It makes no sense to industrialize this incomparable wilderness area when there's only about six month's worth of economically recoverable oil in the entire NPR-A, and it would take at least 10 years to get it to market," said Charles Clusen, Alaska Project director at NRDC. "The United States has only 3 percent of the world's proven oil reserves and we use 25 percent of the world's produced oil. We can't drill our way to oil independence. We have to wean ourselves off oil."
Research Credit: NF
Halliburton Execs Said to Take Kickbacks :.
Yawn:Two Halliburton Co. officials accepted up to $6 million in kickbacks from a Kuwaiti company that was awarded contracts to supply U.S. troops in Iraq, according to a newspaper report.
Halliburton disclosed the alleged impropriety to the Pentagon inspector general's office this week, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Friday.
A Shovel, a Cell Phone and an Epiphany in the Dirt
As you guys already know, I'm attempting to grow some of my own food
. Digging up the dirt, upon which one of the raised beds will sit, is proving to be a very humbling experience. The top several inches of dirt in the backyard is actually a conglomeration of knotted up weed balls, rocks, sand stone, clay that's the consistency of concrete, sticks and other hard organic matter. In its present condition, this "soil" (to call it "soil" is a big stretch) is wholly unusable for growing anything, except perhaps more weeds.
Obviously, the raised bed is the only way to go. I'm breaking up the hard pan so that roots from the deeper burrowing crops will be able to penetrate down beyond the limits of the raised bed. I'm fabricating my top soil (the stuff that will fill up the raised bed) out of some slightly better dirt from the hillside (screened for rocks, sticks, etc.) and my compost.
As I was working, something dawned on me. None of this would be possible without a good shovel. Without this tool, man, you can forget it. I weigh 180lbs and I have to stand on the head of that shovel, and really work it, in order to get it to penetrate the hard dirt. There is just no way I could do this without the shovel. TR, long time Cryptogon contributor and fellow researcher, added, "Welcome to the Iron Age."
While standing there in the dirt, reflecting on the primacy of my shovel to this work, I became aware of the presence of my cell phone in my back pocket. I must have grabbed it, by reflex, and put it in my back pocket before I went out to work on the garden.
I took the phone out of my pocket and looked at it. I marveled at it for a few moments. It was on, connected to the mobile network, waiting to be used. If I wanted to, I could dial a number and talk to anyone, anywhere in the world. And anyone, anywhere in the world, could call me. It's amazing! But in terms of this work in the dirt, in terms of doing something that involves self sufficiency, freedom, liberation, feeding yourself based on an understanding of your environment, what good is that cell phone? I took both implements in my hands, the cellphone in my left and the shovel in my right, and looked at them. That's when it hit me; a frightening, stunning moment of clarity. As incredible as all of this technological wizardry is, something as simple as a shovel is much more useful (and necessary) for building a sane reality than a cell phone would ever be.
A recent survey
concluded that the cell phone is the most hated, yet most necessary, technological invention. Indeed, asking people to exist in this society without their cell phones is almost as unthinkable as expecting people to understand the global implications of their deranged lifestyles. (Isn't it incredible how detached we have become from the most basic processes of life!?) But after my time in the dirt, if someone asked me which technological invention I couldn't live without, I'd say the shovel. No doubt about it.
I see homeless people on the street with cell phones, but how many people have a shovel? This thought led me to wonder: how many people in my own neighborhood have shovels? Afterall, why would they need shovels? The only time I ever see people using shovels around here is when gardeners or landscapers are putting in decorative plants for homeowners...
Welcome to oblivion.
It's only a matter of time before this bizarre and frenetic state of existence breaks down. While I'm not saying that people need to abandon technology (no, I didn't throw my phone into the dirt and smash it with the shovel), I'm saying that more of our time, energy and money must be dedicated to creating a sane and meaningful lifestyle. More shovels, less cell phones. Start the transition to a more sustainable and real existence while it's still possible to do gradually. The pain for most people will come suddenly, as the dominant paradigm snaps. They don't see anything wrong with what's happening in the world (or, they aren't willing to do anything at all about it). Don't be one of these people. Do something. Do anything. Grow a tomato.
Resistance is fertile.
Eastman Kodak Co. Plans to Cut as Many as 15,000 Jobs :.Eastman Kodak Co., the world's largest maker of film, said it plans to cut as many as 15,000 jobs, or about 20 percent of the workforce, as earnings fall.
Making Way for Designer Insects :.
Pray for this society to collapse soon. That may be humanity's only hope. If this thing doesn't come down, there's no doubt about it, we're doomed. The deranged quacks in corporate and academic circles are tinkering with the physical base, the building blocks of life itself. If this nonsense is allowed to continue, well, it's just a matter of time before we all have a collective, "Oh shit!" moment:The insect world could shortly undergo a genetic makeover in the laboratory. Scientists are at work developing silkworms that produce pharmaceuticals instead of silk, honeybees resilient enough to resist pesticides and even mosquitoes capable of delivering vaccines, instead of disease, with every bite.Remember
the story about how all plant life in North America was nearly wiped out.Related: NRC Warns on GMOs Again :.
These people think they can control their nightmarish creations. This is the epitome of winkin', blinkin', nod. Why take risks with technology that has the potential to wipe us all out? Forget nuclear weapons! That's nothing compared to this technology. A bomb only explodes once:For the fourth time in recent years, a committee of the US National Research Council has warned regulators and developers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that science knows too little about how the novel organisms will behave in the real world.
The latest report, issued Tuesday (January 20), argues that the safest way to make sure that a transgenic animal or plant cannot escape to spread its engineered genes in nature is to fence it off with more than one containment system. If one method falters, then others can take over as fail-safes.Related: Call for Kill Switch in GM Organisms :.Government agencies should consider requiring the use of "suicide genes" or other biological tools to keep genetically engineered organisms from spreading artificial genetic traits into the environment, a committee of United States scientists has recommended.
The committee urged the US Department of Agriculture, for which it prepared its report, to consider "bioconfinement" techniques to help keep the organisms under control. These techniques would add genetic traits that make the newly created life forms sterile or cause them to destroy themselves after a time.
The report, released by the National Academy of Sciences, says that while many techniques are being developed to prevent genetically engineered organisms or their genes from escaping into the wild, most are still in the early stages and none appears to be completely effective.
Email from Chris
Overt fascism is taking hold in America at an astonishing pace. The problem isn't the Republicans or the Democrats or the corporations they serve.... Nope. You see, according to Chris, I'm the problem. HAHAHA!
From Chris:-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 10:27 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: What are you trying to prove?
I hope this site isn't based in the U.S., because if so, you guys have some self-hatred issues going on. Very negative site-sites like this give me more than enough reason to vote FOR Bush, because when I see who's against him (people like you)...it would scare the hell out of me if you people got your way. Thanks for pushing another undecided voter away from you guys, and toward the Republicans. (P.S. If you think life is so hard and our government is so evil and we're not free...move to China or Iran, and you might notice a difference.)
My response:-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin F [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 10:46 PM
Subject: RE: What are you trying to prove?
Do you actually believe that there is a difference between the two main political parties in the U.S.? Wake up and smell the bullshit. Do your homework before you write to me, boy.
Treasury Reneges on 30 Year Bond Holders :.
Winding down:The U.S. Treasury will default on contracts with investors, mostly individuals, who loaned the government money in 1979 on the agreement that they would receive 9.125 percent interest every year until their bonds mature in the year 2009.
No longer will politicians and appointed bureaucrats be able to brag that the United States has never failed to live up to its obligation as the safest investment in the world. Investment is no longer guaranteed.
The Bureau of Public Debt announcement claims that this recall applies to about $4.6 billion in 30 year bonds issued on May 15, 1979 and calls for their redemption by May 15, 2004. Of course, investors holding these bonds are not forced to cash them in and can hold them until 2009 if they want, but they will no longer receive the interest promised, the main reason for investing their money in the first place.
Earth 'Entering Uncharted Waters' :.The Earth has entered a new era, one in which human beings may be the dominant force, say four environmental leaders.
In the International Herald Tribune, they say the uncertainty, magnitude and speed of change in many of the Earth's systems is without precedent.
The four, who include Margot Wallstrom, the European environment commissioner, say uncertainty cannot excuse inaction.
They believe humanity may cross some critical thresholds unawares, setting off changes which cannot be reversed.
Research Credit: DG
Vitamins C and E 'Cut Alzheimer's Effect' :.
I've been taking between three and six grams of Vitamin C (both ascorbic acid and mineral ascorbates) and between 400 to 800 IU of Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) per day for years. I also take a good quality multivitamin (including high dose Vitamin B complex) and flax seed oil. Read about the bowel tolerance method
to learn how to dose Vitamin C. If you don't feel like reading all of that, here's a summary. It tells you to increase your dose of Vitamin C until you begin to get diarrhea. At this point, reduce your dose until the diarrhea abates. DO NOT SUDDENLY STOP TAKING HIGH DOSES OF VITAMIN C. If you want to stop taking supplemental Vitamin C, scale back your doses over time:It may be possible to reduce the effects of Alzheimer's disease by taking the right combination of vitamins, US research suggests.
Scientists have found vitamins E and C may protect the ageing brain - but only if taken together.
They both mop up destructive molecules, called free radicals, released by the body's metabolic processes.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland announced their findings in the journal Archives of Neurology.
Brain cells, known as neurons, are thought to be particularly sensitive to damage caused by free radicals.
Lead researcher Dr Peter Zandi said: "These results are extremely exciting.
"Our study suggests that the regular use of vitamin E in nutritional supplement doses, especially in combination with vitamin C, may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease."
Israelis Shoot Deaf Palestinian Woman :.Israeli occupation troops have shot and wounded a "mentally disturbed" woman as she worked on her family's farm in the town of Musha, near Qalqilya in the West Bank.
According to our correspondent, the troops opened fire on the woman, wounding her in the shoulder. The woman, who is deaf, was carrying farm implements at the time.
Britain Has too Many Graduates, Warn Employers :.More than two-thirds of graduate recruiters believe that Britain has too many university students, according to research published yesterday.
A survey of 215 personnel managers - from some of the country's biggest employers - also revealed that 60 per cent believed the increase in student numbers had led to a "dumbing down" of standards.
The figures, published by the Association of Graduate Recruiters, put business leaders at odds with Tony Blair over his aim to get 50 per cent of young people into higher education by the end of the decade.
Fifty-three per cent are of the opinion that the UK produces too many graduates.The research comes as the Conservative party indicated it was dropping its opposition to student fees - a policy which would have led to a major reduction in student numbers. Asked if university expansion had adversely affected standards, 60 per cent agreed. Eight per cent of young people went to university in 1963 compared with 43.5 per cent today.
State of The Union :.
This list is much longer, here are a few:See the millions of unemployed, many with advanced college degrees? THAT is the state of the union.
See the high-paying jobs flowing to other countries? THAT is the state of the union.
See the dollar in decline and nothing left to arrest the fall? THAT is the state of the union.
See corporate executives looting their own companies and then walking free? THAT is the state of the union.
See the schools that lack basic supplies? THAT is the state of the union.
See the closed emergency rooms? THAT is the state of the union.
Insider-Trading Investigation Launched in Banking Merger :.
Nah, you don't say! HAHA! Back on 1/15, I called the BankOne/Chase deal a merger between, "two of the most corrupt organizations in the world clinging to each other for dear life as the entire thing goes down." And now this:Securities regulators are examining a surge in options trading just before Wednesday's announcement that J.P. Morgan Chase agreed to buy Bank One for $58 billion, according to people familiar with the situation.
Regulators at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), the largest U.S. stock-options market, are examining the activity at the behest of traders who lost money, said the people, who declined to be named. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is also looking into the trading, they said.
Trading in options that bet on a drop in J.P. Morgan shares almost tripled Wednesday to more than 20,300 contracts, compared with roughly 7,800 the day before. At the same time, the volume of trading in options that bet on a rise in Bank One shares rose to more than 11,000 on Wednesday from 4,900 on Tuesday.
"The pattern smacks of insider trading," said Jon Najarian, chief market strategist for Chicago-based PTI Securities and the publisher of InsideOptions.com, an online newsletter about unusual activity in the options markets.
2004: Vote Skull and Bones for President :.
I'm directing you guys to a story I wrote back on 4/13/03. Keep it in mind if Kerry emerges as the Democratic candidate. U.S. national elections. Please. We might as well be talking about paint drying:
Aspartame - History of Fraud and Deception :.
I've known this stuff was bad news from the moment I first tasted it. Yuck! I've avoided it ever since:It is estimated that as many as 20,000,000 people cannot metabolize phenylalimine, and this inability is genetically inherited by children. The inability to metabolize phenylalinine can lead to mental retardation in children. This means a risk of retardation for millions of children. A multi-billion dollar enterprise, this substance is said to be "refined" from "natural"substances. Like other "refined" substances, it represents a health threat to the general public. No long term studies have been performed to evaluate the physiological effects of this substance, yet the public is lead to believe it is absolutely safe. Technically, the chemical is called aspartame, and it was once on a Pentagon list of biowarfare chemicals submitted to Congress.
JP Morgan Offers Bonus Delay Deal :.
Go to your PHB
and demand payment for your work in something other than dollars! HAHAHA! Man, is this thing down yet?Investment bank JP Morgan Chase is offering some staff the chance to delay receiving their bonuses in dollars to prevent a potential collapse in the value of their compensation packages, the Financial Times said.
The bank has given employees an extra two months to decide whether they want their bonuses paid in U.S. dollars or in their local currency, the report said.
Bonuses for many bankers are calculated in dollars, regardless of the country in which they work, but the recent slide in the dollar against major currencies has wiped out some of this year's payment.
The extension is being offered to JP Morgan's 10,000 employees in the UK. In continental Europe, where the company has about 15,000 employees, it will be decided case by case, depending on the laws of the country, the FT said.
Internet Take Down and the Aftermath: Welcome to the Lockdown :.
A bunch of Big Deals (people with all sorts of impressive sounding credentials) are in total denial of the realities facing information systems today. There is no way to defend the global information infrastructure (the Internet) from a catastrophic attack. Say it with me: No way.
These jokers who make their livings by theorizing about how the big attack will happen do nothing but bloviate about software exploits. These guys are so smart that they don't take into consideration the most obvious realities glaring at them in the face. Man, worry about a guy pulling up the right manhole cover and taking a chainsaw to all the single, dual and multimode fiber he finds down there. Nope. Scratch that. Worry about several hundred guys doing that---at the same time. Why won't any of the bloviating jokers talk about the real threat, the physical threat? Wooooohhhhh. Wait a minute, that's not allowed. Sean Gorman
did a thesis on the subject and the entire U.S. government went ape shit and classified his project. There's one problem: the information Gorman used to compile his map system is out there in the open for anyone to access.
The single biggest piece of evidence I have that Al Qaeda isn't real is the fact that I am able to post this message, and that you are able to read it. If Al Qaeda, or any other group of individuals, wanted to destroy the U.S. they would attack the means by which the U.S. military and U.S. corporations move information. It just so happens that the U.S. military and U.S. corporations use the same infrastructure that you're using right now to read this. Assume .mil has hardened systems that will allow it to maintain some level of C3I. Fine. We will give them the benefit of the doubt on that one. But take away Corporate America's ability to move funny money around the globe, and this thing is down. D. O. W. N.
So, if someone like me, sitting here in my boxer shorts with cookie crumbs on my face, figured out how to take down the Internet back in 1996, don't you think it stands to reason that an international terrorist organization, with infinite resources and access to experts in any field, would be able to come to the same conclusions? Please. It's obvious. Al Qaeda either isn't real, or it isn't interested in delivering the kill shot.
I wouldn't be surprised, however, if the Them were to bring the Internet down as a false flag operation, blame Bin Laden, et al. and provide the pretext for the economic collapse that is, in reality, long over due. If the Internet comes down, it will indicate that life as we know it has overtly come to an end. It will indicate that the Them feel that there is nothing left to loot and that some hellish system of martial law is necessary in order to maintain control.
The Internet will rise again, but it won't look anything like it does now. It might be that only "trusted" users are allowed on wide area networks, with "trusted" users meaning only those who are totally surveiled and compromised. If you haven't read about Microsoft's DRM plans
, you've been missing out on the stuff of nightmares.
Maybe B Gates will wait until after "the event" to fully unfurl that Longhorn abomination. He'll be able to get it legislated into everyone's existence, purely as a matter of Homeland Security. I almost don't believe that they don't mention it by name, but when this article discusses the locked down nightmare scenario that emerges after "the event," they're describing the Microsoft DRM system exactly:Welcome to the lockdown
After the Digital Pearl Harbor, one simple truth will become apparent to everyone: The surest and fastest way to avoid another one, to save lives and to make the world's computer systems secure, is to lock them up, freeze them in a permanent status quo. Put functions into chips that not only won't integrate with other applications but can't. Extensibility in 2010 is a liability, not a feature.
"That [scenario] is appealing because it's one of the simplest things you can do with computers: restrict their abilities," says Peter Tippett, CTO of security vendor TruSecure and noted security expert.
Tippett can't bear to imagine such a world. But Software Engineering Institute fellow Watts Humphrey has resigned himself to it. "If we force security restrictions, we'll dry up a lot of innovation," he says. "That's a cycle we're likely to go through."
At the same time that the integration of applications becomes unethical as well as physically impossible, there will be a human lockdown. After decades spent making access to applications universal, computer scientists and software designers will focus on preventing access. Obviously, if bad guys can't get in, they can't do damage. Even good guys will face broad strictures on what data is available to them.
So there will be a surge in the development of software that blocks access to applications such as chat rooms, the Web, databases, whatever. And even features within programs, like the ability to forward e-mail messages, will be shut off. Again, the thinking is that since openness got us into this mess, only a lockdown will get us out of it.
Authentication applications will explode. The federal government will mandate that users must authenticate their identity to access the Internet itself, a sort of digital passport system for entering cyber-country.
However, as Dan Geer, former CTO of @Stake, notes, authentication can't possibly keep up with the number of people who need it and the number of transactions we try to control with it. Authentication doesn't scale.
But surveillance does. "The costs to observe are virtually zero, so it's not a question of will it exist, but what will we do with it?" Geer asks.
Enforcement of the government's security policy will come from broad, ubiquitous surveillance, both visual monitoring and keystroke logging. The adaptation of cheap wireless gadgets like RFIDs will make the tracking of people and things simple, cheap and inevitable.
Some people, perhaps the majority, will accept this as the price that must be paid to avoid another digital Pearl Harbor. Others will rue what the lockdown has wrought: an utter lack of privacy, a digital iron curtain descending upon innovation, economic stagnation, social calcification. Big Brother will arrive fashionably late, but arrive he will. Security and privacy will become dominant themes in the elections of 2010 and 2012.
Geer is convinced we're heading toward a broadly surveilled police state. "I'm sad about this," he says, "but I'm trying to be realistic."Related: Cyberwar: How Terrorists Could Defeat the U.S., and Why They Won't
People And The Land: Israelis and Palestinians :.
Spend 56 minutes with this video and prepare to have your mind blown:Award-winning filmmaker Tom Hayes crosses borders and check-points to uncover the conflicting opinions and policies of the people who seem unwilling to share this land-and yet are unable to let go. Created at great personal risk by Tom Hayes and his crew. Zionists have lobbied to prevent PBS from showing the film.
Cannibalize Before the Collapse :.Remember the phrase "eating your own?" Well, that is what brainless Corporate America is doing to its US consumers by shipping out the decent paying jobs that allowed people to buy all those products�needed or not�constantly pushed in advertisements on TV, radio and plastered to any horizontal or vertical surface.
Without people with the money to buy, Corporate America collapses, but the geniuses exporting Americans' jobs haven't yet made that connection. All they can see is the short-term swelling of their profits.
In fattening their bottom lines�and the bigwigs' obscene salaries, bonuses, benefits and all manner of perks�they have plundered our natural resources, polluted our environment, stripped our industrial base and are now even sending white collar jobs offshore, where they are plundering other peoples' natural resources, polluting their environment, exploiting their labor and even threatening to have the corporate puppets in Washington make war on any nation that resists.
Welcome to the New World Order in which those who made $50,000 and up a year are now competing for jobs at Wal-Mart and McDonald's that barely pay minimum wage. Oops, don't tell them you have one or more college degrees or were a skilled industrial worker or you will be declared "overqualified," which means no job as one of Wal-Mart's precious "associates" or as a McDonald hamburger flipper.
If you are lucky, you will earn enough to buy food, clothing and keep a roof over your head. If not, there is dumpster-diving and discarded cartons big enough to curl up in�just no sleeping on park benches or anywhere you can be seen in public spaces, because that upsets the fat cats who will sic the police on you.
A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, 1729 :.
Well, it could be worse. At least this wasn't written by Dick Cheney
. Although, he does seem to have a glimmer in his eye when roaming through the hatchery with that long blade:I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust.
...the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune, through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.
I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, encreaseth to 28 pounds.
I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.
All Your Base Are Belong to U.S. :.As distinct from other peoples, most Americans do not recognize -- or do not want to recognize -- that the United States dominates the world through its military power. Due to government secrecy, our citizens are often ignorant of the fact that our garrisons encircle the planet. This vast network of American bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire -- an empire of bases with its own geography not likely to be taught in any high school geography class. Without grasping the dimensions of this globe-girdling Baseworld, one can't begin to understand the size and nature of our imperial aspirations or the degree to which a new kind of militarism is undermining our constitutional order.
Research Credit: NF
U.S. Dollar Plunge Could Lead to Full-Blown Financial Crisis :.
I was at Home Depot today. I was buying 16 foot long 2x12 boards for my garden. Man, that place was packed. All I could think was, "Enjoy it while it lasts, folks." As I was wheeling my lumber around, looking at everyone, it dawned on me that the fact that I could still get material like this is a miracle. I wish there was more time to prepare. I wish I had a few more dollars to set things up properly. Oh well:There are fears the American appetite for Japanese cars, Chinese clothing and Malaysian electronics could cause a global financial crisis sparked by a run on the US dollar.
This has led to a massive current account deficit of more than US$500 billion (S$850 billion) - a far cry from 10 years ago, when the US enjoyed a trade surplus of US$82 billion.
Its budget deficit could hit US$450 billion this year - another record, and a dramatic turnaround from 2001, when government coffers were in the black.
This has led commentators to lament how America's twin deficits could grow into a 'full-blown, Third World-style financial crisis'.
The logic is simple.
Like Thailand, America's deficits are financed largely by foreigners, particularly Asian central banks that want to keep their currencies weak against the greenback to boost their country's exports.
Any crisis of confidence would see them withdrawing their loans, triggering a fall in American financial markets and then a run on the greenback.
The writing is already on the wall.
Schwarzenegger Budget to Slash Health and Education in California :.
Commentary on this story from What Really Happened
:The US is in the final death-spiral. More and more money is being taken from the people while less and less is given back, all so that those in power can hang onto that power a little bit longer against the coming debt crash.
New U.S. Military Snuff Film: Apache Liquifies People with 30mm Canon :.
Save it locally. Do a right-click-> Save target as. I'm not hosting this, it could disappear at any moment. There are some weird aspects to this video. Who knows what this is... The one thing that is clear is that the marauding hordes of the U.S. military have god-like powers. That thing can strike you dead in the black of night. You don't even see it coming. There is no way to fight back.
U.S. Responsible for Journalists Deaths :.
I follow the deaths of journalists in war zones. Here's why:
I nearly went to Bosnia, during the bloodbath back in the 1990s. I wound up not going because I learned that the Serb leadership was paying cash for confirmed kills of photographers. I saw a picture of a guy, probably about my age, lying dead on a street, his still intact camera body was next to his head. A young Japanese photographer's Nikon stopped a 7.62mm bullet from passing right through his center of mass; that would have been a fatal injury for sure. His parents made a shrine for the destroyed camera. I took these images in and a little voice told me, "You won't make it out of there alive if you go." I wasn't afraid of dying. I was slightly concerned, however, about dying for nothing. And that was a very probable outcome of anything I would have been up to in Bosnia in the mid 1990s. You see, I had a feeling that I'd buy the farm, not because of photography, but because I would have probably set the camera gear down, picked up an AK-47 and gone off to fight the Serbs along side the Bosniak (primarily Muslim) elements who's people were being systematically exterminated.
I wouldn't have lasted long as a photojournalist. Not in that thing. It's tough to remain neutral in a situation when genocide is the order of the day.
After doing more research on combat photographers, I learned that they generally CAN'T stay away from war zones. It's not that they're adrenaline junkies, or morbid freaks. Seeing what they see changes them. It makes life back in "normal" society extremely difficult. The nightmares and shaking hands probably don't help matters much. (I had them, for a couple of days, after photographing a small plane crash and seeing the mangled, charred remains of a family of four.) They find that the best way to make it through to the next day is to go back to a war zone. Occasionally, of course, they die trying to tell the story, trying to make it through to the next day. People always ask, "Why go back to such dangerous situations?" Each journalist comes up with different reasons, but the folks who say they can't help it are the ones I believe the most.
I never physically traveled to Bosnia, but I went far enough to reach the point of no return: Washington and senior US commanders in Iraq are responsible for the death of two journalists killed when a US tank crew fired at their hotel in Baghdad last year, Reporters Without Borders has said.
The Paris-based media watchdog branded the US government's response to the incident as a "lie". "The Reporters Without Borders enquiry shows there was lying, as well as three levels of responsibility," said the report, written by a journalist for the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateu on Thursday.
The 30-page document entitled Two Murders states that while US soldiers who fired the single tank shell that killed the two journalists and injured three others at the Palestine Hotel on 8 April could not be held accountable for the tragedy, their superiors did bear responsibility.
Arizona Makes Secession Preparations :.
This is an oldie, but a goodie, worth keeping in mind:An Arizona state legislative committee has approved a resolution calling for the dissolution of the federal government in the event that it abolishes the U.S. Constitution, declares martial law or confiscates firearms -- scenarios some say are not unrealistic. Critics of the resolution, however, call the measure a "total waste of time."
By adopting HRC 2034, Arizona states its intention to dissolve the current federal government with the approval of 34 other states and, in essence, start over. Participating states would re-ratify and re-establish the present Constitution "as the charter for the formation of a new federal government, to be followed by the election of a new Congress and President and the reorganization of a new judiciary," in keeping with the original intent of the "founding fathers." Individual members of the military will return to their respective states and report to the governor until a new president is elected.
In addition, each state will assume a prorated portion of the national debt and will own all land within its borders. After the new government is formed, the remaining 15 states will be permitted to join the revised union upon application, as was the case with the original union.
A three-year veteran to the Arizona Legislature, Johnson told the Sierra Times the resolution is "insurance policy."
"If the federal government declares martial law or attempts to confiscate guns, the states shouldn't have to put up with that," she said.
Neem: An Effective Form of Contraception?
Class, today we're going to talk about contraception.
Pharmaceutical contraception is one of the great scams in conventional medicine. The pharmaceutical companies wage chemical warfare on the female body, while lifting her wallet each month. Not only is this insane and dangerous, but because it's a multi billion dollar business, it's standard operating procedure for millions of women.
is an electronic device that is extremely effective for preventing (actually, naturally avoiding) pregnancy. (An ex girlfriend and I used this for nearly a year and she didn't get pregnant.) Designed by researchers in Germany, and built to medical device standards, the LADY-COMP is approved for use by women all over the world.... but not in the United States! I'd like to see your doctor explain his/her way out of why this isn't readily available in the U.S. Those people are the tools and vassals of pharmaceutical companies. End of story.
But wait: It gets better. Have you ever heard of neem?
I'm going to copy some of the information here because there is an obvious effort underway to disappear this information via the Google memory hole functionality. If you're interested in learning more about neem as a potential form of contraception, this info should be enough to get you searching in the right direction:
An indigenous contraceptive derived from Neem oil, NIM-76 as the active ingredient, has been developed and registered as `Concept`. This is approved as an ayurvedic product by the Drug Controller of the Government of Tamil Nadu. SIRI Ltd, a Hyderabad-based bulk drug manufacturing company has accepted commercialisation of the Neem contraceptive.
:Q:What is neem oil? Can it be used as a contraceptive?
A: Neem oil comes from the Neem tree, an evergreen tree found in both India and Burma invested with medicinal qualities. Most recently, neem oil has been found to be a very powerful spermicide- able to kill sperm within 30 seconds of contact. Trials on lab animals showed that a small amount of the oil in the uterus of the animal could provide contraceptive protection for up to 180 days. Further study involving the Indian Army and soldier's families provided validation of the initial laboratory claims.
Additionally, the oil has not been associated with any of the negative side effects common to many vaginal contraceptive creams and it has shown promise as emergency contraception. Scientists in India are working to develop a contraceptive cream for public use, however as of now the cream is not yet available in the U.S. Neem oil has not yet been processed through FDA safety and efficacy standards required before it can be used for medical purposes in the US. We can expect to see more studies over the next few years, and Well Woman will keep you informed of the latest developments.
:Contraception. 1994 Feb; 49(2): 161-9.
Long-term contraceptive effects of intrauterine neem treatment (IUNT) in bonnet monkeys: an alternate to intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD).
Upadhyay S, Dhawan S, Sharma MG, Talwar GP.
National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, India.
Antifertility effects of intrauterine neem treatment (IUNT) was studied in bonnet monkeys. A single administration of 1 ml of neem oil by an intrauterine insemination catheter blocked fertility for 7 to 12 months. The effect was, however, reversible as all the animals became pregnant subsequently and delivered normal babies. The neem oil treatment had no adverse effect on menstrual cyclicity and ovarian functions. The uterus of neem-treated animals showed normal morphology. Immunohistological studies, however, demonstrated a significant increase in the number of MHC-II antigen-positive cells in the uterine endometrium following neem treatment, indicating enhanced antigen-presenting ability of the uterus; a feature that may be related to the observed antifertility effect of neem oil. The present investigation demonstrates that an IUNT can be used for long-term, reversible contraception, without any apparent side effects, and that the method could provide an alternate to currently used intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD).
PMID: 8143455 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
I find it absolutely fascinating that a google search for neem contraceptive
produces top results for companies selling conventional, pharmaceutical contraception!
Research Credit: JH
Bush Plans $1.5 Billion Drive for Promotion of Marriage :.
There is no way this is happening. It can't be real:Administration officials say they are planning an extensive election-year initiative to promote marriage, especially among low-income couples, and they are weighing whether President Bush should promote the plan next week in his State of the Union address.
For months, administration officials have worked with conservative groups on the proposal, which would provide at least $1.5 billion for training to help couples develop interpersonal skills that sustain "healthy marriages."
$58 Billion Bank Deal Set :.
Two of the most corrupt organizations in the world clinging to each other for dear life as the entire thing goes down. Touching:J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. has agreed to buy Bank One Corp. for about $58 billion in a merger that will combine two of the biggest banks in the United States, the companies announced Wednesday.
The merged entity would rank as the nation's No. 2 bank behind Citigroup, with assets of $1.1 trillion and 2,300 branches in seventeen states.
Mobile Phones Cause Brain Damage in Rats :.
Remember the smoking ads from the 1950s? Smoking is sexy and cool! Companies are pushing mobile phone use in the same way. But ask yourself: How is strapping a microwave transmitter to your skull not going to cause problems!? Here's another observation. Have you ever noticed that people who spend a lot of time on mobile phones are usually complete basket cases!? I have no idea if it's the lifestyle that requires people to be on the phone all the time, or the physiological effects from the phone, but something is wrong with those people. I use the hands-free headset thing when I use my mobile phone (not bluetooth). I just hope that the wire isn't acting as a waveguide for that microwave energy. Oh well:Last summer neurosurgeon Leif Salford and colleagues at Lund University in Sweden published data showing for the first time an unambiguous link between microwave radiation emitted by GSM mobile phones (the most common type worldwide) and brain damage in rats. If Salford's results are confirmed by follow-up studies in the works at research facilities worldwide, including one run by the U.S. Air Force, the data could have serious implications for the one billion?plus people glued to their cellphones.
His team exposed 32 rats to 2 hours of microwave radiation from GSM cellphones. Researchers attached the phones to the sides of the rats' small cages using coaxial cables -- allowing for intermittent direct exposure -- and varied the intensity of radiation in each treatment group to reflect the range of exposures a human cellphone user might experience over the same time period. Fifty days after the 2-hour exposure, the rat brains showed significant blood vessel leakage, as well as areas of shrunken, damaged neurons. The higher the radiation exposure level, the more damage was apparent. The controls, by contrast, showed little to no damage. If human brains are similarly affected, Salford says, the damage could produce measurable, long-term mental deficits.
How Many Windmills Would $87 Billion Buy? :.Officials at Alpine Power Co. of Roseburg want to spend $23 million to install 51 windmills near La Grande. Altogether, these windmills would generate some 92 megawatts of electricity. Assuming that they could be run about one third of the time (full windpower is not always available), each windmill would produce about 5265 megawatt-hours of electricity per year.
How many windmills could we have built and how much pollution-free electricity could be generated by those windmills if we could have used just the extra $87 billion that was recently appropriated for Iraq?
At the costs projected by Alpine Power Co, $87 billion would buy 192,904 windmills. The total resulting electricity production, again assuming each windmill can run one third of the time, would come to more than 1,015 billion kilowatt-hours per year. This amounts to about more than a quarter of all U.S. electricity consumption in 2000.
Another Microbiologist Killed :.A reward of up to $20,000 was announced Thursday for tips leading to the arrest and charges of a hit-and-run motorist who killed a chemist walking in the Texas Medical Center.
Robert Leslie Burghoff, 45, a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor College of Medicine's molecular virology and microbiology department, was walking to his car Nov. 20 when he was hit from behind by a white or light-colored cargo van that jumped the sidewalk in the 1600 block of South Braeswood.
Burghoff, a father of three who lived in The Woodlands, had been studying the Norwalk virus plaguing cruise ships.More: Microbiology: The Most Dangerous Area of Inquiry in the World
Big Brother Britain, 2004 :.More than four million surveillance cameras monitor our every move, making Britain the most-watched nation in the world, research has revealed.
The number of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras has quadrupled in the past three years, and there is now one for every 14 people in the UK. The increase is happening at twice the predicted rate, and it is believed that Britain accounts for one-fifth of all CCTV cameras worldwide. Estimates suggest that residents of a city such as London can each expect to be captured on CCTV cameras up to 300 times a day, and much of the filming breaches existing data guidelines.
Important Article on Seed Catalogs :.
If you need seed, check out this article. This is so important, I felt obligated to host it locally:Here are profiles of 29 of my favorite mail-order companies. In most cases (except where noted), their catalogs are free--all you have to do is ask. These seed catalogs offer an unbelievable selection of enticing varieties you simply cannot find elsewhere. The folks at these companies are on the cutting edge of bringing the newest and best to home gardeners everywhere. In many cases, they also pack lots of great growing advice into their catalogs. You easily can learn as much browsing through these catalogs as you would studying many gardening books.More: Suppliers of Seed for Certified Organic Production
U.S. Ammunition Plant Reaching Its Limit :.
The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Mo., is producing four million rounds per day for the U.S. military! And the military is having to buy more ammo from civilian markets?! Can someone tell me how anywhere near four million rounds per day are going up in smoke or into storage?! I wonder if it's like Vietnam, where commanders were told to shoot off everything they had into the jungle just before the resupply showed up.
What about strategic reserves? There must be hundreds of millions of rounds mothballed somewhere. The military's position is that they are replenishing these reserves. Think about four million rounds per day, though!
Ongoing combat operations, that we hear about, can't account for much more than several thousand rounds per day, on average. It's probably not even that many. Factor in training and qualification, etc. I mean, just go nuts and say one million rounds are blown off per day. It can't be that, but say it's a million. What in the hell are they doing with the additional three million rounds per day!?
But wait, there's more: consider contracts to Winchester and IMI to produce a combined 140 million rifle cartridges per month, starting in June! Something is just totally weird here.... Unless they're building up for the next war, or maybe the establishment of martial law in the U.S.:The U.S. military's only plant making small-arms ammunition is running at near capacity, 4 million rounds a day, and the United States still is forced to look overseas and to the recreational industry for ammunition for troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and those training to deploy there soon.
Gen. Paul Kern, commander of the Army Materiel Command, said Friday that giving those units priority ensured they had enough small-arms ammunition. "Everyone else will have to pay the price" and wait for it, he said.
The increased demand for ammunition for combat shooting and intensified training has made deep inroads in the nation's war reserves of ammunition, Kern said.
The sole plant making small-arms ammunition, the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Mo., is running three eight-hour shifts a day, six days a week. The plant provides 5.56 mm rifle, 7.62 mm and .50 caliber machine gun as well as 9 mm pistol cartridges for all branches of the military.
Because of the increased demand for ammunition since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Kern said the Army in late December let two supplemental contracts to Olin Winchester of East Alton, Ill., and Israeli Military Industries for each to produce 70 million rifle rounds per month starting in June.
Parmalat's Tanzi, the Mafia, Secret Trips to Libya and God's Helicopter :.
I didn't know how long it would take for the Catholic Church to start cropping up in the Parmalat fraud; I just knew that it would. It didn't take long! The Church is too old, too big and too evil not to be involved in the major planetary swindles. Of course, this scandal has something to do with some other big can-o-worms related to Libya and secret U.S. backchannels. Then there are shady mafia ties...nothing proven, of course. (wink, blink, nod) I don't even want to know what goes on inside that Vatican. Do you think it involves a trandimensional portal, or not? Where was Cheney
when all of this was going down? Forget it. I don't want to know:Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi ferried prelates and politicians on his fleet of planes and yachts and supplied the executive jet that flew a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican on a secret, unauthorized trip to Libya in 1986, officials told The Associated Press.
From the early 1980s until last year, the reserved and media-shy Tanzi kept up his high-powered connections, although now he is behind bars, accused in the massive fraud case that has bankrupted the Italian dairy giant.
The Parmalat helicopter was known as "God's helicopter'' because it frequently ferried Roman Catholic clergy, including the Vatican's former No. 2 official, then-secretary of state Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, to a lecture near Genoa in 1993, church officials told the AP.
RFID Industry Plan to Smear Katherine Albrecht Blows Up in Their Faces :.
What a bunch of idiots! Do these people urinate on their shoes when they try to walk and chew gum at the same time?The Grocery Manufacturers of America this week inadvertently sent an internal e-mail to CASPIAN suggesting it was looking for embarrassing information about the group's founder, Katherine Albrecht.
The e-mail, written by a college intern at GMA, reads, "I don't know what to tell this woman! 'Well, actually we're trying to see if you have a juicy past that we could use against you.'"
The intern earlier had asked Albrecht to produce her personal biography, "as part of an RFID research project," and became frustrated when Albrecht asked what GMA planned to do with the information, according to GMA spokesman Richard Martin.
SurePrep: How Is This Legal!?
SurePrep specializes in offshoring accounting jobs from the U.S. to India. This represents the epitome of profligate greed and shortsighted, predatory, race-to-the-bottom tactics running through corporate culture at this time. This is a recipe for how to destroy the United States and profit handsomely... well, for a few moments before this entire thing collapses.
I won't even mention the potential security problems related to their "business" model. (We don't want any lawyers getting any funny ideas.) The issues should be obvious to anyone with a background in information security. Like all big money psychopaths, they fail to understand the human element in their operation, and this will probably lead to their downfall.
Here's a PDF of SurePrep's FAQ
, including such burning questions as: What do I tell my clients about who is doing their return?
HAHA! Don't count on this information remaining up, I'll probably be served with a cease and desist notice from some filthy lawyer who's wearing a suit that cost more than I made in 2003. So, if you want it, save it locally. (I'm not linking directly to their site, because I don't want to tip them off to the fact that someone is shining a light on their despicable operation. By the time they figure it out, you guys will have spread this info all around and they won't be able to disappear it. Just go to sureprep.com if you want to see it for yourself.)
I can't believe they were so blatant about discussing their practices in the first place. There's no mention about how all the fired U.S. accountants are supposed to pay their mortgages or buy food. I guess they could grow their own food, like I'm doing
And before I get any email messages wondering if I have gone insane for defending accountants, save it. Yes. I think the entire accounting industry is a scam. I say, eliminate the need for accountants completely. So, either way, U.S. accountants better warm up those shovels and wheelbarrows before the Grapes of Wrath scenes begin to unfold.
This is from SurePrep's homepage:What if you could prepare a thousand more tax returns without adding even one more staff member? And what if you could prepare those returns for up to 50 percent less than what it costs you right now? You can with SurePrep. And with virtually unlimited ability to prepare and process returns, you can increase volume, multiply profits and grow your practice.
With a large staff of Chartered Accountants located offshore, SurePrep enables you to prepare far more tax returns at up to half the cost without sacrificing quality or control. SurePrep Chartered Accountants average five years of professional tax and accounting experience. They also receive continuing education from U.S. tax professionals to keep current on the latest changes in U.S. tax code. The net effect is a gain in experience that results in the highest quality returns as well as increased client satisfaction. And with a standard turnaround time of just two to three business days?and as little as one business day when needed?SurePrep also offers the advantages of greater speed and increased efficiency.
The Second Great Depression Will be Brought to You Live :.
The entire story may not be televised, but you're participating in it:Take a moment to consider that you are now living history . It is an amazing time to be alive and witness never before seen events unfold, if you only had the time. As a period of transition, this will be the greatest period of wealth destruction the world has ever seen. It will also be the greatest opportunity for building wealth in our lifetimes. It is nothing less than a turning of the earth, a changing of the guards. The rich have gotten as rich as possible, and now the times are changing. This is creative destruction in real time.
Air Travel Lockdown Continues :.
This is a soft approach to getting people to comply with more invasive surveillance. They aren't going to hold a gun to your face and say you can't fly. (Well, most of the time they won't do that.) They will just make your experience a living hell if you try to fly WITHOUT GOING ALONG WITH THE NEW VOLUNTARY INFORMATION DISCLOSURE PROGRAM. Watch how voluntary that thing winds up being in practice. The next thing you know, everyone who refuses to submit biometric/other information will automatically be classified as a suspected terrorist:Despite stiff resistance from airlines and privacy advocates, the U.S. government plans to push ahead this year with a vast computerized system to probe the backgrounds of all passengers boarding flights in the United States.
The government will compel airlines and airline reservations companies to hand over all passenger records for scrutiny by U.S. officials, after failing to win cooperation in the program's testing phase. The order could be issued as soon as next month. Under the system, all travelers passing through a U.S. airport are to be scored with a number and a color that ranks their perceived threat to the aircraft.
Another program that is to be introduced this year that seeks to speed frequent fliers through security lines in exchange for volunteering personal information to the government.
The two new initiatives will augment a system introduced last week to fingerprint and photograph millions of foreign visitors on arrival in the United States.
White House Activates Components of Martial Law Contingency Plan :.
Which presidential executive order allows them to take control of information dissemination? I read this stuff over 10 years ago; now it's happening. Someone help me out with those executive order numbers:Under a new proposal, the White House would decide what and when the public would be told about an outbreak of mad cow disease, an anthrax release, a nuclear plant accident or any other crisis.
The White House Office of Management and Budget is trying to gain final control over release of emergency declarations from the federal agencies responsible for public health, safety and the environment.
The OMB also wants to manage scientific and technical evaluations - known as peer reviews - of all major government rules, plans, proposed regulations and pronouncements.
A Shovel, a Wheelbarrow and a Pile of Dead Leaves
It may not look like much now, but just wait... I'm turning to small scale agriculture in the space I have available in my backyard. I'm following Candide's
maxim: All that's left to do is, "cultivate our garden." I shall need an ugly wife, however, to help with the pastry baking. If you have a sister, friend or cousin named Cunegund, have her drop me a line. ;)
I'm going to build a 16x6 foot raised bed, along with separate Earthbox
type self-watering containers
. I'll add more as I gain experience.
I was happy to find that the unkept nature of my backyard and patio turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Leaves were piled everywhere, up to a foot thick is some places. The entire area is essentially a large compost heap. In some areas, at the bottom, there was rich, black earthy smelling humus. I collected several wheelbarrow fulls of well composted material. I'm very excited.
The pile is alive. It moves on its own. Slowly. A little bit at a time. Beetles, spiders, earthworms and creatures of every description are running around in that thing. I just stood there and marveled at it.
The pile has grown about 4x from the time this picture was taken. It's now nearly the size of a Volkswagen Rabbit! I have watered the pile and covered it loosely with a black tarp to cook
. I'm going to have to go shopping for a nice pitchfork when it comes time to turn that thing.
This work just feels right. Even though there is dirt all over the place, it doesn't feel dirty, like working in an office for corporate criminals. Actually, it feels more than just right. I haven't felt this relaxed in.... I don't know how long. Watching the creatures scurry about in my pile seemed to make more sense than just about anything our so-called "advanced civilization" has managed to produce over the last few generations. Nature just goes about all of THAT
on its own. But THAT
wasn't good enough for us, I guess.*
We're so God damned smart that we had to go and wreck everything by blindly accepting every new technological marvel that came along. Fawing over useless gadgets, slaving away in jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need! Guess, what? That ring serves only one master, and it's not you. So, enough. Enough already. Use technology that helps you obtain and maintain freedom and independence. As for the rest of it, ignore it, don't use it, don't buy it, and, to the extent you are able, walk away from it.
Of course, you realize that what I'm saying is more dangerous than 10,000 Bin Ladens, attacking from all directions on magic carpets with all of the weapons of mass destruction not found in Iraq! And don't think that They're not paying attention. I happened to be watching CNBC the other day. A Goldman Sachs analyst was on. He was saying that millions of people are giving up on finding jobs. They're dropping out of the system. "This is a very disturbing trend," he said, "We're loosing track of what they're up to." HA! We're grabbing shovels, buddy, we're playing in the dirt, we're growing food. Put that in your Excel spreadsheet and smoke it.
In case you're wondering how a lifetime computer nerd and someone with no experience with gardening at all learned how to go about all of this, here's a hint: Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening by Pauline Pears
. If you're an organic gardener and know of some good books or must-see web sites, please let me know. Pathtofreedom.com
is a site that literally causes my heart to skip a beat each time I visit.
* I don't want any emails from people blaming Eve for the predicament in which we find ourselves. Give poor Eve a break and read, Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development by Lewis Mumford
Plan Now for a World Without Oil :.The world faces a stark choice. It can continue down the existing path of rising oil consumption, trying to pre-empt available remaining oil supplies, if necessary by military force, but without avoiding a steady exhaustion of global capacity. Or it could switch to renewable sources of energy, much more stringent standards of energy efficiency, and a steady reduction in oil use. The latter course would involve huge new investment in energy generation and transportation technologies.
Research Credit: K
Oil, Gas Prices Shoot Up :.Oil and natural gas prices climbed to their highest levels in more than nine months Friday as traders responded to colder weather in the Northeast, tight supplies and rising demand.
The weak dollar is also pushing energy prices higher, analysts said.
''It gives OPEC countries less buying power and literally no incentive to make any increases in output,'' of crude, which is denominated in dollars, said Tom Bentz, an analyst at BNP Paribas Commodity Futures in New York.
High Schools Roll Over, Spread Legs for Corporations :.
Madness:"First and foremost, our schools are struggling," the National School Boards Association's Dan Fuller said. "Many districts are engaged in this (commercialism) because of the dire straits they're in. This presents a real opportunity and a trend that will continue and possibly grow."
As a result, corporate advertisements are cropping up on everything from high school scoreboards to the sides of school buses. A Dr Pepper billboard is atop a Texas school, earning that school district millions of dollars.
The next thing you know, cop cars will have advertising on them! Oh, woops, that's already happening
Dollar Collapse Continues on Terrible Jobs Data :.The dollar plunged to new lows Friday, with fragile sentiment toward the beleaguered currency dealt a further blow by a surprisingly weak U.S. employment report.
The dollar began sinking as soon as the data showing only 1,000 jobs were added to nonfarm payrolls last month hit the wires. Economists had expected a rise of 150,000, with most expecting the balance of risks to the upside.
The unemployment rate may have fallen to a 14-month low of 5.7% from 5.9%, but the alarming lack of job creation spooked investors. Treasury and gold prices rallied, while bond yields and stocks plummeted.
The main drag for the dollar is the impact a weak labor market has on interest rates because expectations of rates staying low mean the dollar will likely remain weak.
"This is unambiguously bad for the dollar, not just because of the number itself, but because of the implications it has for U.S. interest rates," said Rebecca Patterson, senior currency strategist at JP Morgan in New York.
Bush in Cabinet Meetings: "A Blind Man in a Room Full of Deaf People" :.Former US treasury secretary Paul O'Neill has blasted his former boss, President George W Bush, describing Cabinet meetings with him as "a blind man in a room full of deaf people".
Mr O'Neill, who was sacked by Mr Bush in December 2002, told CBS television the President did not ask him a single question during their first one-on-one meeting, which lasted an hour.
"I went in with a long list of things to talk about and, I thought, to engage (him) on. ... I was surprised it turned out me talking and the president just listening. ... It was mostly a monologue," Mr O'Neill said in the interview to be aired this weekend.
He says his description of the President as a "blind man" was a reference to his dislike of a free flow of ideas or open debate.
Mr O'Neill is quoted as saying that Mr Bush's lack of engagement left his advisers with "little more than hunches about what the President might think".
White House spokesman Scott McClellan deflected repeated questions about O'Neill's assertions, saying: "I don't do book reviews."
Dollar Slumps as U.S. Job Creation Lags :.The dollar tumbled to a fresh record low against the euro on Friday, as a stunningly small gain in U.S. payrolls further stoked expectations that U.S. interest rates will remain at a 45-year trough for some time.
In a yield-seeking environment such as the currency markets, low interest rates tend to lessen the appeal of dollar-denominated assets for global investors.
The Labor Department said non-farm payrolls added just 1,000 jobs in December. The weaker-than-expected gain stands in sharp contrast to the 130,000 new jobs that had been expected. Furthermore, the November report, which initially showed creation of 57,000 jobs, was revised down to show a rise of 43,000.
Peak Oil: Shell to Recategorise 20% of Proven Oil, Gas Reserves :.Shares of major oil companies fell Friday after Royal Dutch/Shell Group shocked investors by slashing its "proven" reserves by 20 percent.
News of the revision triggered concerns that other producers may also have improperly booked reserves as "proven" -- a category comprising oil and gas from developed and undeveloped fields that companies believe can be extracted and sold profitably under current market conditions.
Shell shifted 3.9 billion barrels of reserves previously listed as "proven" into two less valuable categories -- "unproven" or having "scope for recovery." The announcement revealed excessive optimism for key areas including Australia's giant Gorgon gas field, onshore activities in Nigeria and other unspecified areas in the eastern hemisphere.
Adrian Lamo Cuts Deal With Feds :.Lamo faces six to 12 months of jail time under the sentencing guidelines for his crime. But he and his court-appointed public defender, Sean Hecker, are hopeful that Buchwald will put Lamo in a halfway house, or under home detention. Sentencing will take place on April 8, to coincide with Lamo's spring break from American River College in Sacramento, California.
In addition, Lamo is bound to pay a fine of $2,000 to $20,000. And he's obliged to reimburse the money that his offenses supposedly cost the Times and LexisNexis -- $30,000 to $70,000.
But how exactly Lamo will pay the Times back is unclear. Lamo said he's been trying to get a job, in addition to taking classes as a college journalism major. But he's been luckless, so far.
"How the hell do I tell employers what I've been up to for the last three years?" Lamo mused.
Bush to Seek Manned Flights to Moon, Mars :.
Will the space missions still be on after the wars for oil eventually lead to World War III? Hmm. How about we use some of the technology that's been around for over three decades to solve our energy problems before we play spaceman again.
I could care less. I'll hopefully be digging up potatoes and boiling them on a wood burning stove in my yurt, somewhere about ten miles north of oblivion. I don't have much of a need for space missions. That potato means a hell of a lot more to me than the maniac whims of fascists:President Bush next week will lay out his "vision for expanding the space program," which is expected to include long-term proposals for manned missions to the moon and an eventual manned mission to Mars, senior administration officials say.
Levi Strauss Closes Last Two U.S. Plants :.Levi Strauss & Co., the California Gold Rush outfitter whose blue jeans are a globally recognized symbol of America, closed its last two U.S. sewing plants Thursday.
About 800 workers at the 26-year-old San Antonio plants lost their jobs in the move, which was announced last September.
Troglodytes Begin to Eat Each Other: Question About Flight Sim Software Leads to Cop Visit :.
This is standard operating procedure in all fascist nightmare systems:A mother's enquiry about buying Microsoft Flight Simulator for her ten-year-old son prompted a night-time visit to her home from a state trooper.
Julie Olearcek, a USAF Reserve pilot made the enquiry at a Staples store in Massachusetts, home to an earlier bout of hysteria, during the Salem witch trials.
So alarmed was the Staples clerk at the prospect of the ten year old learning to fly, that he informed the police, the Greenfield Recorder reports. The authorities moved into action, leaving nothing to chance. A few days later, Olearcek was alarmed to discover a state trooper flashing a torch into to her home through a sliding glass door at 8:30 pm on a rainy night.
Olearcek is a regular Staples customer and schools her son at home. The Staples manager simply explained that staff were obeying advice. Shortly before Christmas, the FBI issued a terror alert to beware of drivers with maps, or reference books.
Credit Crunch Coming? :.
HAHAHA! Ya think?:The record percentage of consumers behind on their credit-card payments could be the ugly result of a weakening housing market -- and an ominous sign of greater credit pain to come, economists said Wednesday.
The refinancing boom, triggered as mortgage rates fell to the lowest level in a generation, offered homeowners a ready source of cash. Most consumers plowed that cash back into their houses, for new washers and dryers, carpeting or to build that new deck.
But others used it simply to pay bills, including their credit-card bills. Shut off the refi spigot, and you may have shut off the ability of some cardholders to pay.
Anyone who thinks we're not in a real-estate bubble is high on crack.
Study: Farmed Salmon More Contaminated Than Wild :.Farm-raised salmon contain significantly more dioxins and other potentially cancer-causing pollutants than do salmon caught in the wild, says a major study that tested contaminants in fish bought around the world.
Salmon farmed in Northern Europe had the most contaminants, followed by North America and Chile, according to the study released Thursday. It blames the feed used on fish farms for concentrating the ocean pollutants.
Quarantining Dissent: How the Secret Service Protects Bush from Free Speech :.
Beg the cops to wave your sign!? What a crock of shit. You want to start a revolution? Grow your own food
:When President Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up "free speech zones" or "protest zones," where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event.
When Bush went to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, "The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us."
The local police, at the Secret Service's behest, set up a "designated free-speech zone" on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush's speech.
The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, but folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president's path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign.
Extended Quote from Propaganda by Edward L. Bernays :.
This is, quite possibly, the most important collection of words on Cryptogon:The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.
We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.
Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.
They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons.... who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
It is not usually realized how necessary these invisible governors are to the orderly functioning of our group life. In theory, every citizen may vote for whom he pleases. Our Constitution does not envisage political parties as part of the mechanism of government, and its framers seem not to have pictured to themselves the existence in our national politics of anything like the modern political machine. But the American voters soon found that without organization and direction their individual votes, cast, perhaps, for dozens or hundreds of candidates, would produce nothing but confusion. Invisible government, in the shape of rudimentary political parties, arose almost overnight. Ever since then we have agreed, for the sake of simplicity and practicality, that party machines should narrow down the field of choice to two candidates, or at most three or four.
In theory, every citizen makes up his mind on public questions and matters of private conduct. In practice, if all men had to study for themselves the abstruse economic, political, and ethical data involved in every question, they would find it impossible to come to a conclusion about anything. We have voluntarily agreed to let an invisible government sift the data and high-spot the outstanding issues so that our field of choice shall be narrowed to practical proportions. From our leaders and the media they use to reach the public, we accept the evidence and the demarcation of issues bearing upon public questions; from some ethical teacher, be it a minister, a favorite essayist, or merely prevailing opinion, we accept a standardized code of social conduct to which we conform most of the time.
In theory, everybody buys the best and cheapest commodities offered him on the market. In practice, if every one went around pricing, and chemically testing before purchasing, the dozens of soaps or fabrics or brands of bread which are for sale, economic life would become hopelessly jammed. To avoid such confusion, society consents to have its choice narrowed to ideas and objects brought to its attention through propaganda of all kinds. There is consequently a vast and continuous effort going on to capture our minds in the interest of some policy or commodity or idea.
It might be better to have, instead of propaganda and special pleading, committees of wise men who would choose our rulers, dictate our conduct, private and public, and decide upon the best types of clothes for us to wear and the best kinds of food for us to eat. But we have chosen the opposite method, that of open competition. We must find a way to make free competition function with reasonable smoothness. To achieve this society has consented to permit free competition to be organized by leadership and propaganda.
Some of the phenomena of this process are criticized � the manipulation of news, the inflation of personality, and the general ballyhoo by which politicians and commercial products and social ideas are brought to the consciousness of the masses. The instruments by which public opinion is organized and focused may be misused. But such organization and focusing are necessary to orderly life.
As civilization has become more complex, and as the need for invisible government has been increasingly demonstrated, the technical means have been invented and developed by which opinion may be regimented.
Debt Soars to Record :.
It's almost down:Americans are carrying more debt then ever before, and are behind payments in record numbers, according to figures released yesterday.
In October 2003, consumer debt hit a record $1.98 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. That's about $18,700 in debt per household, which includes credit cards and car loans, but not mortgages.
Meanwhile, in the third quarter of last year, 4.09 percent of credit card payments were past due, also a record high, according to the American Bankers Association.
IMF Sounds Alarm on Snowballing U.S. Fiscal Deficit :.The exploding U.S. federal budget deficit threatens the global economy through a sharp plunge in the value of the American dollar and higher interest rates worldwide, the International Monetary Fund warned Wednesday.
The IMF also challenged the Bush administration's position that the deficit can be dealt with by a rebounding economy generating higher tax revenues, and by stronger efforts to curb government spending. "Given the magnitude of this adjustment (to rebalance the budget) it would seem likely that both revenue measures and sustained spending restraints would be needed," IMF economists said in a report entitled U.S. Fiscal Policies and Priorities for Long-Run Sustainability.
U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, meanwhile, issued a don't-worry-be-happy assessment of the fiscal situation.More: IMF Sees Risk of Disorderly U.S. Dollar Drop :.
Disorderly = Illiquid Trade = Crash. Remember how I said the Japanese were preventing the dollar from crashing
suddenly? I wonder what they're getting out of this? I'm starting to believe that this is NOT just related to Japanese corporations being able to sell their products in the U.S.:Large and growing U.S. budget and current account deficits raise the risk of an abrupt drop in the value of the dollar, which could hit U.S. and global economic growth, the IMF said on Wednesday.
"Although the dollar's adjustment could occur gradually over an extended period, the possible global risk of a disorderly exchange rate adjustment, especially to financial markets, cannot be ignored," the International Monetary Fund warned in a new report on Washington's fiscal stance.
"An abrupt weakening of investor sentiment vis-a-vis the dollar could possibly lead to adverse consequences both domestically and abroad," particularly since U.S. debts to the rest of the world are at record highs, the fund said.
Bend Over, Here IT Comes Again :.
Tech turn-a-round? How about feeding on the dead:Amid rising hopes for a high-tech turnaround, there's this sobering sign: Martin Pichinson -- a man who has buried nearly 150 failed startups since 1999 -- has swooped into Silicon Valley like a vulture lurking over a pack of wounded animals.
Pichinson, a self-described "doctor of reality" who helps liquidate companies, says he wouldn't have moved from Los Angeles to Palo Alto a few months ago had he not smelled more high-tech trouble looming.
"Sadly, it looks like 2004 is going to be another busy year for me," Pichinson said. "There's still another 6,500 to 7,500 companies out there who are among the walking dead."
Conventional wisdom says Pichinson, 57, is about to face a business downturn himself. With technology stocks finishing their best year since the 1990s and companies poised to spend more money on computer gear, there's a growing consensus high-tech's high death toll is tapering off.
"Most of the biggest problem companies have been restructured, sold off or closed down," said Barry Kramer, a Palo Alto attorney who advises venture capitalists.
Pichinson scoffs at that notion, predicting the carcasses of doomed startups will continue to pile up for the next three to seven years.
"I have closed more companies than anyone in the world, so no one knows better about all the things that can go wrong in a business," Pichinson said.
Widow's 911 Bush Treason RICO Suit Vanishes in Blink of Media Eye :.Think you're already amazed, alarmed or appalled enough by the state of US journalism today? Chew on this a while and think again. Grieving New Hampshire widow who lost her man on 9/11 refuses the government's million-dollar hush-money payoff, studies the facts of the day for nearly two years, and comes to believe the White House "intentionally allowed 9/11 to happen" to launch a so-called "War on Terrorism" for personal and political gain.
She retains a prominent lawyer, a former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania, who served with distinction under both Democrats and Republicans and was once a strong candidate for the governor's seat.
The attorney files a 62-page complaint in federal district court (including 40 pages of prima facie evidence) charging that "President Bush and officials including, but not limited to Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft and Tenet":
1.) had adequate foreknowledge of 911 yet failed to warn the county or attempt to prevent it;
2.) have since been covering up the truth of that day;
3.) have therefore abetted the murder of plaintiff's husband and violated the Constitution and multiple laws of the United States; and
4.) are thus being sued under the Civil RICO (Racketeering, Influence, and Corrupt Organization) Act for malfeasant conspiracy, obstruction of justice and wrongful death.More: President Served Friday with Personal 9-11 RICO Complaint :.U.S. media blackout continues as New Hampshire widow�s attorney also served multiple government officials and moved to examine new evidence while preparing subpoenas and written interrogatories for individual depositions. This, as corporate media execs continue to withhold important stories about presidential foreknowledge of attacks, military stand-down, and evidence of controlled demolition of third WTC Building 7, containing critical Securities and Exchange Commission corporate fraud investigation documents.
Research Credit: D
Bush in 30 Seconds :.
These are pretty good.
Research Credit: ES
On The Edge Of Lunacy :.The hospital has none of the basic textbooks on tropical diseases it needs. But it does have 21 copies of an 800-page volume called Aesthetic Facial Surgery and 24 volumes of a book called Opthalmic Pathology. There is no opthalmic pathologist in training in Ethiopia. The poorest nation on Earth, unsurprisingly, has no aesthetic plastic surgeons. The US had spent $2m on medical textbooks that American publishers hadn't been able to sell at home, called them aid and dumped them in Ethiopia.
Apple's Ministry of Truth Enhanced 1984 Commercial :.
I remember seeing that 1984 Apple Macintosh commercial---in 1984. And as I recall, Anya Major, the hammer-tossing actress wasn't wearing an iPod. This site hosts the original commercial
Dollar Slide Accelerates; Risks of Rout Increase :.
That's the Dow Jones news wire headline, not mine! Speculators must know that the only thing preventing a sudden crash is the Bank of Japan. It's almost like the Japanese are providing the liquidity to allow parties to exit in a controlled way. The result is a crash, drawn out over several weeks and months: If anything, the dollar's slide was accelerating along with the increase in trading volume as investors return to the market after the holiday period. With very little to convince them otherwise, certainly not official rhetoric from U.S. or euro-zone policymakers, they're simply putting on fresh short dollar positions, en masse.
The euro was printing fresh all-time highs and zoning in fast on $1.30, the market's next big psychological target. Meanwhile, sterling was up around two whole cents on the day at new 11-year highs.
The dollar's malaise is widespread, with only official buying -- mainly from Japanese monetary authorities -- and a sprinkling of corporate demand appearing to stand in the way of the current run on the dollar turning into a rout.
The FBI Almanac Memo :.
Idiots rule:Investigation has revealed that terrorist operatives may rely on almanacs to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning. Almanacs, available both in print and online, provide comprehensive information on a variety of topics, including government, geography, vital statistics, the economy, health matters, science and technology, weather trends, and tourism. Information commonly found in almanacs that may be exploited for terrorist use includes profiles of U.S. cities and states and information on geographic and structural features such as waterways, bridges, dams, reservoirs, tunnels, buildings, and landmarks. This information is often accompanied by photographs and maps.
The use of almanacs or maps may be the product of legitimate recreational or commercial activities; however, when combined with suspicious behavior or other information such as evidence of surveillance activities, these indicators may point to possible terrorist planning. The practice of researching potential targets is consistent with known methods of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that seek to maximize the likelihood of operational success through careful planning.
During the course of authorized searches, traffic stops, and other contacts, law enforcement officers should be alert to the potential terrorist use of almanacs for pre-operational activities. Indicators of the use of almanacs for this purpose may include suspicious notations concerning high-profile locations such as tall buildings or landmarks and references to specific dates. Agencies should report any suspected use of almanacs in this manner to their nearest FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Tip 'O the hat to John at Cryptome for his unending dedication to this work.
My Hat is Off to the Shorts that Hold On
A couple of days ago, I got stopped out of the meager short position that I'd placed on the QQQ. I am watching this thing rise, almost in a state of shock, as the dollar collapses, gold continues to gap up, the national debt closes in on $7 trillion, and the trade imbalance and budget deficits crash into record territory!!!! Do you ever just marvel at the bullshit? Does it ever strike awe into your very core? Well, I can't afford to hold a short position because who's to say when reality will set in?! But my hat is off to you guys who are shorting the NASDAQ and will ride the crash right into the dirt. Whether it's a fake terror incident or just a matter of people waking up to the macroeconomic catastrophe all around us, I will take pleasure in knowing that some of you had the stones to ride this thing out through what is probably going to go down as the most false rally in the history of equity markets.
And to you criminals with inside information, who know when "it" is going to happen: There's going to be a special place in Hell just for you, where you become Saddam Hussein's ass clown for the rest of eternity. Oh yeah. That's right! Believe it.
Big Media Gets It, Late: Bush Grabs New Power for FBI :.
Better late than never, Wired! Cryptogon and rest of the peanut gallery linked to the information weeks ago
. And where was that tool, Drudge? The idiot was out of it as usual, talking up the Michael Jackson nonsense:While the nation was distracted last month by images of Saddam Hussein's spider hole and dental exam, President George W. Bush quietly signed into law a new bill that gives the FBI increased surveillance powers and dramatically expands the reach of the USA Patriot Act.
The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 grants the FBI unprecedented power to obtain records from financial institutions without requiring permission from a judge.
Under the law, the FBI does not need to seek a court order to access such records, nor does it need to prove just cause.
Previously, under the Patriot Act, the FBI had to submit subpoena requests to a federal judge. Intelligence agencies and the Treasury Department, however, could obtain some financial data from banks, credit unions and other financial institutions without a court order or grand jury subpoena if they had the approval of a senior government official.
The new law (see Section 374 of the act), however, lets the FBI acquire these records through an administrative procedure whereby an FBI field agent simply drafts a so-called national security letter stating the information is relevant to a national security investigation.
And the law broadens the definition of "financial institution" to include such businesses as insurance companies, travel agencies, real estate agents, stockbrokers, the U.S. Postal Service and even jewelry stores, casinos and car dealerships.
The law also prohibits subpoenaed businesses from revealing to anyone, including customers who may be under investigation, that the government has requested records of their transactions.
Bush signed the bill on Dec. 13, a Saturday, which was the same day the U.S. military captured Saddam Hussein.
Consumer Debt More Than Doubles in Decade :.
Joe and Jane Six Pack, this Bud's for you! HAHA! We are well into the final stages of looting before the entire thing blows up in our faces:As the bills from holiday spending sprees arrive, Americans are finding that the mountain of debt they've built has gotten even higher.
Consumer debt has more than doubled in the past 10 years to record levels, making it hard for many families to cope.
For Bruce and Lorraine Esbensen of Clifton Heights, Pa., trouble started when they spent lavishly on their wedding six years ago. They soon found themselves falling behind on their bills.
``Creditors were calling, and I knew if I paid one, I couldn't pay the other,'' Lorraine Esbensen remembers. ``It was so painful I got to the point where I didn't want to answer the phone.''
Credit counselors helped the couple work out a repayment plan, but it still took more than four years to pay down their debt.
``We still basically live paycheck to paycheck,'' she said. ``But we do have an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) going now, and we're careful with our spending so we feel better.''
Consumer debt hit a record $1.98 trillion in October 2003, according to the most recent figures from the Federal Reserve. That debt--which includes credit cards and car loans, but not mortgages _ translates to some $18,700 per U.S. household.
At the same time, the government says the nation's savings rate dropped to just 2 percent of after-tax income in the first half of the year. That means many people lack the means to deal with financial emergencies, much less their eventual retirement.
The 1984 Quote I Can't Stop Thinking About
It seems almost trite to quote from 1984 these days, but this passage sums it all up:They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird.
It's tough to top that one.
Certified Public Accountants: Get Ready for Bum Status :.If a tax preparer gets you an unexpected refund this year, you may have an accountant in India to thank.
That's because accounting firms are joining the outsourcing trend established years ago by cost-conscious American manufacturers.
In fact, companies in a number of unexpected industries are now sending work overseas. From scientific lab analysis to medical billing, the service-sector workforce has gone global.
CPA firms are just one example. In the 2002 tax year, accounting firms sent some 25,000 tax returns to be completed by accountants in India. This year, that number is expected to quadruple.
The reason lies in the numbers; accountants in the United States typically earn $4,000 a month. In places like India it's closer to $400, says David Wyle, CEO and founder of SurePrep, a tax-outsourcing firm based in southern California that's employed more than 200 accountants in Bombay and Ahmedabad, India.
"We've estimated firms will save between $40,000 to $50,000 for every 100 returns that are outsourced," adds Wyle, whose firm expects to do 35,000 returns in the coming year. That's up from 7,000 last year.
How About that Gold? :.
Gold hits a fifteen year high as the dollar continues to collapse. The stock markets are going up on monopoly money. It's too bad there's no way to know when these BS short squeezed stocks will unwind. The one thing that's for sure, it's not going to be pretty when they do:Gold futures traded above $425 an ounce for the first time in more than 15 years in New York Monday, extending its watershed rally on the first trading day of 2004 as investors continued to diversify out of the beleagured dollar.
Other precious metals surged as well, but gold is considered a form of currency and is seen as a hard alternative to the greenback. It built on last year's 20 percent gain as the dollar hit a new low against the soaring euro and fell to its cheapest level against the yen in three years.
Alabama Workers Clock in with Their Fingerprints :.Jefferson County, Alabama is calling time on fraudulent overtime claims by making non-salaried employees clock in with their fingerprints.
The County Commission last week placed a $460,000 order for 30 biometric time clocks, doubling numbers in use by the administartion.
How Much Worse Can It Get? When Will Mainstream America Wake Up? :.
Excellent article:The ignorance and unawareness so prevalent among the mainstream 9-5 sheeple constantly amazes me. People that are supposed to be our best-educated and most responsible workers and thinkers seem to never even think for themselves anymore. When they come across an idea that challenges their safety and comfort they attack it violently as lies and left wing propaganda. Any idea that deviates from their narrowly defined version of reality is met with scorn and sarcasm. You would think that these people would be the ones trying to figure out where America is going wrong.
When you bring up the cold hard facts of how bad it had become under George Bush there is usually a bunch of blank stares or outright hatred and anger. Sometimes they will actually engage an informed person in conversation, but it is rarely an intelligent or rational discourse. On the rare occasion that they admit that one of the facts sounds reasonable, they have twenty more arguments against the other facts presented.
These people seem to be totally oblivious to the fact that homelessness has risen by 40-50% on a nationwide level and that poverty has reached an all time high. They don't know that the US is last in education levels among first world countries, that the deficit is greater than ever in recorded history, that the unemployment rate keeps climbing despite Bush claiming otherwise, or all the other grim facts of life in America.
It is like they live in an alternate universe and just can�t quite see the world around them clearly. This is a great form of defense when you try to protect your assumed worldviews, but foolhardy in the end. By their unwavering refusal to accept how bad it really is, these people are helping the government perpetuate the crisis, if only by their complacency and nothing else.
Hard Time on the Killing Floor :.
Cows skinned and dismembered alive. I started going to my happy place
as I tried to read this article. Warning: Graphic.According to workers, meat at the plant is routinely contaminated with cattle feces because workers on the processing line are not give enough time to wash their hands. Under pressure from aggressive plant managers, meat that falls on the floor, which is often littered with meat byproducts and entrails, is often immediately placed back on the line without being cleansed. Cutting tools and conveyor belts, workers tell CounterPunch, are also regularly coated with pus from abscesses and tumors that haven't been properly cut out of the meat. Meat cutters at the plant also told me that often cows are not rendered unconscious before being sent down the line. Instead, workers say they often hear cows frantically mooing as they are skinned and dismembered alive.
Dr. Strangelove Style Manifesto from Neocons :.US President George W Bush was sent a public manifesto Tuesday by Washington's hawks, demanding regime change in Syria and Iran and a Cuba-style military blockade of North Korea backed by planning for a pre-emptive strike on its nuclear sites.
The manifesto, presented as a Manual for Victory in the war on terror, also calls for Saudi Arabia and France to be treated not as allies but as rivals and possibly enemies.
The manifesto is contained in a new book by Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser and "intellectual guru" of the hardline neo-conservative movement, and David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter. They give warning of a faltering of the "will to win" in the US.
New Farm Seen As Model for Wind Energy :.This new wind system, along with similar ones being built around the country, promises to produce electricity at competitive prices all without disturbing surrounding farms and wildlife, two of the obstacles for wind power today.
The 90 turbines at High Winds can generate 162 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 75,000 homes, according to Florida-based FPL Energy, which owns and operates High Winds along with 30 other wind facilities in 10 states.
"This is the future of wind power," said Ralph Cavanagh, energy program director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "The wind farm is becoming a productive part of the local community. It's not an interloper that threatens them."
Pope Calls for a New World Order :.
Unfurled:Pope John Paul II rang in the New Year on Thursday with a renewed call for peace in the Middle East and Africa and the creation of a new world order based on respect for the dignity of man and equality among nations.
John Paul presided over a morning Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica to mark the World Day of Peace, which the Roman Catholic Church celebrates every January 1. He appeared in good form, delivering his entire homily in a strong and clear voice despite a relatively tiring holiday schedule.
This year, John Paul directed his thoughts to continuing conflicts around the globe. But he stressed that to bring about peace, there needs to be a new respect for international law and the creation of a "new international order" based on the goals of the United Nations.
2004 � Year of the Slave :.
This is an excellent article. I agree with much of it completely. I don't think the chances of an armed insurrection in the U.S. are very high, though. Americans, generally, are too stupid and cowardly to pull it off; besides, the feds have compromised all potential insurgency movements with any C3I* capability. There would have to be a sudden groundswell of thought that would change the American Zeitgeist from a love of the dumb to the real issues. I don't know how that would happen. Maybe elements of the U.S. military will walk into CNNABCNBCFOXetc., guns drawn, and a general will announce it, Banana Republic style. Take food out of the picture. That could do it, but that will just lead to a scene right out of Road Warrior. It could come down in any number of ways. Who knows?! It won't be good, no matter how it happens.
I just hope that Russia and China don't have any doubts about who's in control of American strategic nuclear assets during any possible shake-up. An extraconstitutional transfer of power in the U.S. would frighten Russia and China and bring the world to the brink of annihilation. If it does come down to a gunbattle/coup, someone, hopefully a few four star generals, will be in on it and will be able to ring the red phones in Moscow and Beijing to let them know that nobody is planning on lobbing any eggs, and that they shouldn't consider it either.
Oh well. This sure turned into a lovely post. Happy New Year! (No wonder the woman I was seeing never read this site.):Free people can say �no�. Free people can refuse demands for their money, time, and children. Slaves cannot. There is no freedom without the freedom to say �no�. If someone demands that you do something and you can say �no� and refuse to do it, then you are a free human being. If you can be forced to do something or surrender something that you do not wish to, then you are a slave. No other test need be applied.
When you are forced to surrender half your life�s work to the government in ever-increasing taxes, then you are a slave. Throughout history, slaves were expected to perform the work needed for their own upkeep, then perform additional work for the rulers. For Roman slaves, the ratio of work-for-self versus work-for-rulers was about 50-50. The same ratio applied to Medieval Serfs, and even to the slaves of the American south. And, when you add up all the overt taxes, covert fees, tariffs, excises, plus the increased price you pay for products to pay the taxes of the companies that make those products, you will find that Americans are at that same �half-for-self� versus �half-for-rulers� ratio! Can you say �no� to the confiscation of half of your life? Can you even get the masters to maybe reduce the burden by a significant amount? No? Congratulations. You are a slave.
* C3I- Command, Communications, Control, Intelligence
Three Million Burnt-Out Britons Abandon High-Flying Careers in Search of Good Life :.
People are figuring it out:Nearly a quarter of British men work more hours than the European legal limit. Half of all British workers think that their job damages their health and one-fifth say they are too exhausted to have sex.
Such is the drudgery of life in the British workplace that next year 200,000 people will follow in the footsteps of one City trader, who surrendered a six-figure salary this year to become a magician, and "downshift". This will bring to three million - or 10 per cent of the working population - the total number of people who have swapped the urban rat race for a rural idyll or abandoned high-flying careers by demanding to work fewer hours, a study by the market research organisation Datamonitor has found.
Experts say downshifting has become a Europe-wide trend driven by the recognition of "time" as a commodity just as valuable as the latest Mercedes or digital gadgetry.
Dominik Nosalik, a consumer markets analyst for Datamonitor, said: "It is something which is growing steadily and will continue to do so next year. Three million people is a significant part of the population.
"It is driven by time and people wanting the energy for things that they can't do working the hours that they do. There is an increased lack of willingness to put up with the long-hours culture across Europe in general and the UK in particular.
"After spending years striving for material wealth in the shape of a house and car, people are saying they need to change their lifestyle and are happy to 'pay' for it by means of accepting a lower income."
According to the research, there are now some 12 million downshifters across Europe, an increase of nearly a third in the past six years. By 2007, the figure is likely to reach more than 16 million as the population of the European Union, its affluence increased by economic growth, seeks to escape the sense of burn-out.
Of those who have already sought a less onerous existence, around two million are what demographers call "holistic simplifiers" - people who have gone the whole hog by selling their homes or cashing in their nest eggs to set up a new life elsewhere, preferably in locations as far away as possible from the stresses and clutter of urban life such as the Outer Hebrides or Sicilian orange groves.
The Datamonitor research found that the majority of the "holistic simplifiers", who are concerned for the environment and are "spiritually orientated", come from highly paid and stressful jobs such as the law, IT or financial services. Many are in their 30s, want to focus more on their family life and are ready to contemplate any steps, including emigrating, to achieve their aims of self-sufficiency.
Bloggers Supposedly Making a Difference :.
Actually, I'm starting to see blogging as part of the mechanism of control. It allows me to stay sane by ranting about all of this nonsense. It gives you something else to do at work besides work. Meanwhile, nothing happens, except for everything continuing to get worse. Blogging is great! Start a blog! Express yourself! It's a bunch of BS. Most blogs (98%) are completely useless; lots of talk about cats, rap music and what happened last weekend, etc.
And what are the supposedly useful blogs accomplishing? The ascension of the information age is corresponding to the establishment of a more efficient police state. They're letting us have our silly blogs. They're letting us wave signs. IT BUYS THEM TIME TO SET UP THE ELECTRONIC PRISON, and it lets Them know who the troublemakers are. By the time the average idiot on the street sees what has happened, it will be way too late to do anything about it. (It's already too late.)
If you think, for one second, that this system is going to change because a few of us have figured it
out and are writing about it
, man, you better think again. The Them must have known that people, generally, would not utilize the Internet to make any substantive changes to the system. By the time the Internet became readily accessible (1995), most of the population was already sufficiently dumbed down. The handful of people who use the Internet as a tool to affect revolutionary political change are easily surveiled and targeted for oppression when necessary. Interestingly, relatively few dissidents receive door knocks in the middle of the night. This is because dissidents don't matter. They don't threaten the system. And the masses are too disinterested and stupid to make any sense of what is happening, even though they have access to the answers at their fingertips.
As long as dissidents don't say anything that can actually threaten the system, they will be left alone. Oh yeah. I hold my tongue A LOT. If I said what I actually thought, I'd be taken down, probably within 24 hours. You see, I can rant and bitch and say anything I want on this thing, as long as it doesn't matter, as long as it doesn't threaten the system. The Them understand that citing facts and figures and evidence of Their crimes will never hurt Them. They know that almost nobody cares. The people who do care are generally penniless, powerless, fringe dwelling, bums, freaks, cranks, etc. And those of you with sufficient resources to actually affect changes wouldn't say shit if you had a mouthful because you're afraid of losing the few cigarette buts and bottle caps you've managed to squeeze out of this thing.
The number of people addressing the core issues---dangerous distributions of wealth, surveillance, perception management, technocracracy, the Left-Right fallacy, central banking scams, corporate criminality, etc.---is very small. We have no access to the troglodyte masses. The only way anything is ever going to change is if the troglodytes grow to see the fallacy in front of their own eyes. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that such a bottom up approach is possible. It would require a program of education (de-schooling) that would instill a love of learning, skills of discernment and the ability to think in a non-linear manner. This is an impossible proposition because the regime (the interlocking governmental, corporate and academic spheres) would never allow it.
What about an armed revolution? Let's assume, for a moment, that it was possible. It isn't, but let's assume that it was. The question becomes: What will be the nature of the new system? Answer: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. To achieve any good outcome, the regime that seizes power would have to implement a value system that would undermine its own power and authority and eventually lead to its downfall. No regime seizes power with the end goal of relinquishing it. This is the maddening paradox of revolutionary politics.*
On the other hand, we know that begging tyrants for table scraps is a dumb waste of time. So, now that we understand that the pen and the sword are equally useless against this system, what options are we left with?
We have to opt out. Simply walk away from this system and it will collapse. (Well, it's not quite that simple.) I know. Nobody wants to hear that. Everyone wants to believe that change is possible. They want to keep the SUV and appear to be making a difference. Sorry, folks, this is a no bullshit zone. As long as we're in this thing, we're contributing to its life-force. As long as we pay Cheney when we drive to the grocery store, we're system maintainers. As long as we pay Cheney when we buy vegetables grown in Cheney's toxic slag, we're system maintainers. As long as we pay Cheney when we fling plastic into the trash, we're system maintainers. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
Remember the following quote from The Art of War
, by Sun Tzu, "For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill."
You can't fight this thing, and you can't change it. But you can walk away from it. That's our only hope.
* A military coup in the U.S. is theoretically possible, but highly unlikely. The outcome of such a coup would be as bad, but probably not worse, than the system that is unfolding before our eyes. As long as U.S. military commanders are dumb enough to believe that America's true enemies are foreign, and not domestic, there won't be a coup.
From the USA Today article on bloggers:In the 2004 election, the boys (and girls) on the bus have been joined by a new class of political arbiters: the geeks on their laptops. They call themselves bloggers. Their mission: to remake political journalism and, quite possibly, democracy itself. The plan: to run an end around big media by becoming publishers on the Internet.
Research Credit: NF
Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture by Andrew Kimbrell
Readers will come to see
that industrial food production is indeed a "fatal harvest"
- fatal to consumers, as pesticide residues and new disease vectors
such as E. coli and "mad cow disease" find their way
into our food supply; fatal to our landscapes, as chemical runoff
from factory farms poison our rivers and groundwater; fatal to
genetic diversity, as farmers rely increasingly on high-yield
monocultures and genetically engineered crops; and fatal to our
farm communities, which are wiped out by huge corporate
Fascism: The New Face of Power in America by Bertram Myron Gross
This is a relatively
short but extremely cogent and well-argued treatise on the rise
of a form of fascistic thought and social politics in late 20th
century America. Author Bertram Gross' thesis is quite straightforward;
the power elite that comprises the corporate, governmental and
military superstructure of the country is increasingly inclined
to employ every element in their formidable arsenal of 'friendly
persuasion' to win the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans
through what Gross refers to as friendly fascism.
by Scott and Helen Nearing Helen
and Scott Nearing are the great-grandparents of the back-to-the-land
movement, having abandoned the city in 1932 for a rural life based
on self-reliance, good health, and a minimum of cash...Fascinating,
timely, and wholly useful, a mix of the Nearings' challenging
philosophy and expert counsel on practical skills.
Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth by David Bollierd
In Silent Theft, David Bollier
argues that a great untold story of our time is the staggering
privatization and abuse of our common wealth. Corporations are
engaged in a relentless plunder of dozens of resources that we
collectively own—publicly funded medical breakthroughs,
software innovation, the airwaves, the public domain of creative
works, and even the DNA of plants, animals and humans. Too often,
however, our government turns a blind eye—or sometimes helps
give away our assets. Amazingly,
the silent theft of our shared wealth has gone largely unnoticed
because we have lost our ability to see the commons.
Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It: The Complete Back-To-Basics
Guide by John Seymour The
Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It is the only book that
teaches all the skills needed to live independently in harmony
with the land harnessing natural forms of energy, raising crops
and keeping livestock, preserving foodstuffs, making beer and
wine, basketry, carpentry, weaving, and much more.
Corporations Rule the World by David C. Korten
Rule the World explains how economic globalization has concentrated
the power to govern in global corporations and financial markets
and detached them from accountability to the human interest. It
documents the devastating human and environmental consequences
of the successful efforts of these corporations to reconstruct
values and institutions everywhere on the planet to serve their
own narrow ends.
New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques
for the Home and Market Gardener
of a now-classic guide originally published in 1989 is intended
for the serious gardener or small-scale market farmer. It describes
practical and sustainable ways of growing superb organic vegetables,
with detailed coverage of scale and capital, marketing, livestock,
the winter garden, soil fertility, weeds, and many other